June 17, 2007

Tennessee Car Crash Death Toll Down to 6


SELMER, Tenn. - Authorities revised the death toll down to six Sunday, instead of the seven initially reported dead, after a drag-racing car went out of control and careened into a crowd of spectators.

Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Browning said six people were killed, including two 15-year-old girls and a 17-year-old girl. The accident injured 18 others, including a 5-year-old boy, who were taken to hospitals in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Authorities on Sunday identified the driver as pro drag racer Troy Warren Critchley, an Australian who is now based in Wylie, Texas. He suffered minor injuries and was taken by car to a nearby hospital for treatment, authorities said.

There were no criminal charges against Critchley, Browning said.

The crash occurred Saturday night during an "exhibition burnout" - when a driver spins his tires to make them smoke - at the Cars for Kids charity event in Selmer, located about 80 miles east of Memphis.

On amateur video of the crash, broadcast on WMC-TV in Memphis, the car's engine is heard revving loudly before the vehicle speeds down a highway lined with spectators on both sides. After a few hundred feet, the car skidded off the road.