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Popular mud bog racer dead at 4-H fairgrounds

A West Olive, Michigan, man popular in the sport of mud bog racing died Saturday in an accident at the St. Joseph County 4-H fairgrounds. The 48-year-old man was accompanied that day by his son who, along with nearly 1,500 racing fans, witnessed the entire tragic event. It was the first race of the night.

Well known in the industry and active in sand rail and mud bog racing since the 1980s, the victim was pronounced dead on arrival at Memorial Hospital. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Investigators will continue their diagnostic review of the man's buggy which was reportedly built for sand racing, not mud. According to a spectator video, the man sped out of the gate at nearly 80 miles an hour then hydroplaned on a mud puddle and crashed into a chain link fence.

The forensic mechanic investigation will hopefully shed a little more light on the fatal motor vehicle accident and help determine if it was caused by a mechanical or operator failure. There could be several parties that prove negligent in this man's wrongful death including the race track crew, the car manufacturer, the mechanic, and even the race sponsors.

As always, the driver was wearing a crash helmet, safety harness and fire resistant jumpsuit during the race. Unfortunately, witnesses say it took the dozens of first responders, police officers and the paramedic crew more than 20 minutes to extricate the driver from the vehicle after the accident. In fact, one witness noted that emergency crews should have been a little more prepared to assist drivers if they are stationed at a race track.

Source: wndu.com, "UPDATE: Video released in fatal racing crash at 4-H fairgrounds," Kevin Lews & Barba Harrington, July 29, 2012

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