Fabens Racetrack Disaster as Car Rams Into Spectators in Texas

At least eight people were injured at a Texas mud racing event in Fabens, located about 40 miles southeast of El Paso in El Paso County.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said a vehicle crashed into spectators after it left a mud track and broke through a guard rail around 6:35 p.m. local time Sunday.

It is unknown what caused the vehicle to leave the track. Police are investigating the incident.

El Paso's ABC-7 (KVIA) reported El Paso County Sheriff's Office said in a statement: "The preliminary investigation revealed one of the vehicles due to unknown reasons left the mud-track striking and breaking through a guard rail. Three other vehicles were also struck as a result of the initial crash."

Speaking at a news conference, Scott Smith, the owner of Rock Solid Protection, an El Paso-based security firm, said the vehicle "hit the guard rail [situated] in between the fans and the racetrack. It went through the rail and impacted cars that were behind it."

The Associated Press reported Monday that three spectators were taken to hospital in critical condition, while five others suffered non-life threatening injuries. None of the injured have been identified by police.

On Sunday evening, citing a briefing from Chief Tom Whitten of the sheriff's office, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego told ABC-7 that a total of 29 people were injured, including three who suffered very critical injuries.

ABC-7 reported the sheriff's office stated eight of the injured victims were hospitalized.

Newsweek has contacted the El Paso County Sheriff's Office for comment, including clarification on the number of people injured in the latest crash.

The injured spectators were taken to El Paso's Del Sol Medical Center, where family members and friends of the victims were awaiting updates on their loved ones, ABC-17 reported Sunday evening.

Video footage shared with ABC-7 captured the chaotic scenes of people running around the area moments after the crash.

Speaking to Newsweek, Rock Solid Protection's Smith said: "The wreck was an accident while racing. The mud race that was taking place is very common in our area of the world. The official cause of the wreck is unknown and still under investigation.

"The car got away from him [the driver] in the track about 3/4 the way to the finish line. Then the car exited the track right before the finish and went straight for the spectators," he said

Smith explained: "Our protocols of parking vehicles near the barrier of the track for extra protection saved many more lives as the car was stopped only 50 feet from the finish line and normally takes 400-800 feet to stop these vehicles. If this vehicle would of continued we would of had injuries in the hundreds.

Smith told Newsweek: "[For] these style races, the track is only 200 feet long. So you can imagine how fast they are going, very quick, I would imagine the race car hit the barrier at an excess of 100 miles per hour."

AP reported Karla Huerta, who was watching the race at the time of the incident, recalled the scene was "pretty ugly."

Huerta told ABC-7: "When they started, one of the trucks lost control and slammed into a pile of cars and people."

According to Smith, the driver of the race car has been driving for many years.

The Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.
A view of the mud and dirt dust during the NASCAR dirt race event at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee in March. At least eight people were injured after a vehicle crashed into spectators at a mud racing event in Texas on Sunday. Chris Graythen/Getty Images