Wednesday, June 20

Six die at charity drag race

Six people, ages 15 to 22, died, and at least 23 others were injured when a drag racing car crashed during the “Cars for Kids” annual fundraiser in Selmer, Tennessee.

Four high-powered dragsters, including one driven by pro drag racer Troy Critchley, were scheduled for the show's popular "burnout exhibition" in which drivers spin their tires to make them heat up and smoke. Hundreds of spectators, unprotected by guard rails, lined both sides of a three-lane highway to watch the show.

Critchley was first off the line, but he lost control and crashed into spectators standing several rows deep in front of a fast-food restaurant.

Amateur video of the crash, broadcast on WMC-TV in Memphis, showed the car's engine revving loudly before the vehicle sped down the highway. After a few hundred feet, the smoking car skidded off the road and into the crowd.
Organizers say the event has been held in Selmer for 18 years. Cars for Kids holds several events throughout the nation and raises close to $200,000 per year for charities that help children in need, according to the charity's Web site.

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