Monster truck crashes into crowd and injures three at 'Monster Air'

HARRISBURG, Ore. -- A monster truck veered out of control and crashed into the crowds and injured three patrons during a race at the "Monster Air 2012" monster truck show Saturday afternoon, Linn County Sheriff's Office said.

The emergency crews responded to the outdoor MotorSports Complex in Harrisburg, Oregon for a monster truck related injury at around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, just 30 minutes after the first truck performance was scheduled to begin.

Sheriff Tim Mueller with the Linn County Sheriff's Office said that the operator of the monster truck reported losing control during a race.

The driver told LCSO deputies that the rear wheels of his 1975 Ford pickup spun out in a mud hole, the rear of the vehicle fishtailed and turned toward the crowd. The truck then went over a barricade and the vehicle's four-foot-tall tractor tires hit three spectators sitting in folding chairs.

Dan Mills, who built and owns the complex and served as the announcer for Saturday's event, said numerous precautions had been taken to keep spectators safe. But he said the truck's hydraulic steering went out suddenly during a two-truck race and that the driver, after losing control of the vehicle, couldn't stop it as it veered into the spectator area.

"It went to the right and there wasn't anything he could do to stop it," Mills told The Associated Press on Sunday. "This was my worst fear what happened ... It was the freakiest thing I've ever seen."

Sheriff Mueller said the three patrons were transported by ambulance to a Eugene hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Mills said he has been in touch with the three victims. He said they included a father and son, and a man believed to be in his early 20s. Mills said the truck did not run over any of the spectators but that its front end merely "pushed them back."

Sheriff's officials said their injuries were not life-threatening; their identities and conditions were not available early Sunday.

Sheriff's officials identified the driver as Kyle Atchley.

Mills said he plans to continue the three-day show Sunday, with added precautions that include not allowing spectators into the area when the accident occurred. He said about 1,000 people attended the Saturday event.

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