A truck went airborne and plowed into the crowd. 12 people were injured. Eight people -- Zachary Freeman, 24; Brian Wolfin, 27; Anthony Sanchez, 23; Aaron Farkas, 25; Andrew Therrin, 22; Dustin Malson, 24; Danica Frantzich, 20; Michael Dickinson, 34 -- were killed.
"Girls were screaming, everyone was screaming," said witness Brandon Alves. "It was just total chaos on the hill."
Alves ducked as the truck flew inches overhead.
"When I got up off the ground, I ran to the guy standing next to me and he was already dead," said Alves.
Authorities say the driver, 28-year-old Brett Sloppy, had no trace of alcohol and is not facing charges. "Soo [sic] incredibly lost and devastated [sic] my thoughts and prayers go out to all the familys [sic] and friends involved," wrote Sloppy on his Facebook page.
This was part of a circuit of races that draws tens of thousands of enthusiasts in the west. Saturday's race, promoted by Mojave Desert Racing, was on federal land. The Bureau of Land Management permit was for 300 spectators, standing back 50 feet. At least a thousand were in attendance. Todd Frantzich lost his daughter Danica in the accident.
"There was no blockage to stop the people," said Frantzich. "Kids were out even reaching out trying to touch the back end of the truck as it went by."
"It's kind of like the bulls in Spain," Michael Pearlman, president of the National Off-Road Racing Association, said. "They want to get closer to the bulls. It's not good."
This devastating accident is prompting calls for more crowd control and barriers to make the sport safer.