MARTINSVILLE, Va. Oct 31 2016— A motorist struck and injured 22 pedestrians following Sunday’s NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway, sending nine people to two hospitals.
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said the driver of a Chevrolet SSR convertible in the handicapped parking area outside Turn 2 attempted to pass a Jeep while waiting in post-race traffic, then struck a crowd of pedestrians. No one was killed in the incident.
Alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the crash, Geller said. The driver still was being interviewed by state police Sunday evening.
Witness Roger Wolfe of Morgantown, W.Va., told USA TODAY Sports the driver pulled out of line, hit the Jeep, then struck “six or seven people and ran one person all the way over."
Wolfe said the driver appeared to be “out of it.”
“He didn’t know where he was or what he did,” Wolfe said. “You could hear the screams for help. They must have had 15, 20 police cars and ambulances down there. The guy who got ran over had a sheet up to his neck. I figured he was pretty bad off.”
The incident occurred one hour after the conclusion of the race. Most of the injured were treated at the scene, and the ages of the injured ranged from 13 to 65. Seven people were taken to Martinsville's Memorial Hospital and two others were transported to Morehead Memorial Hospital in Eden, N.C.
The investigation remains ongoing, Geller said.
Wolfe said the front of the driver’s convertible was “smashed up” from striking the pedestrians, who were lined up near a helipad where autograph-seekers gather in hopes of getting signatures from departing drivers after the race