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Columbia Missourian

Race car jumps track, injures 4

By The Associated Press
June 20, 2009 | 11:33 p.m. CDT

FARMINGTON — A race car driver and three people watching the race were injured Saturday when the car jumped an embankment and became airborne, striking the onlookers.

The accident happened at St. Francois County Raceway near Farmington, about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis. One of the onlookers had serious injuries, said Park Hills Police Lt. Doug Bowles. Details about injuries to the racer and the other two onlookers were not known.

Bowles said two of the injured were flown by helicopter to St. Louis area hospitals. The other two were taken by ambulance to hospitals in the St. Francois County area.

Calls to track promoters were not returned.

Witnesses told police that two race cars, described by police as sprint cars, collided as they came to a curve. One flew up over an embankment, became airborne and jumped two sets of fences before ending up in a rear parking lot. The injured onlookers were not in the stands but were in an area near the parking lot, Bowles said.

Bowles didn't know if the onlookers were spectators, members of race crews or employees of the track.

The track holds races every Saturday night from mid-April through mid-October, according to a schedule on its Web site. Following the accident, the rest of the evening's events were canceled.

Bowles said this is the first accident he could recall involving spectators at the raceway.