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Race track official killed in wreck at Bakersfield Speedway

Tragedy struck at the races over the weekend. A man was killed Saturday in an accident at Bakersfield Speedway. The 54-year-old accident victim was serving dual roles as a race official and a tow truck driver at the event. Track officials often are located on the infield area of the track—four officials were positioned on the infield during Saturday’s race on the short track.

Authorities say that the accident victim was standing next to his tow truck on the infield. He was located behind a protective K-rail, which the California Department of Transportation recognizes as the current standard for temporary safety barriers which are often used for worker safety in work zones. The heavy concrete barriers may also be used in semi-permanent settings.

In Saturday’s accident, a stock car struck the protective barrier near where the man was standing between the number 2 and 3 turns on the track. The car ran up on the rail, striking the race official before the car slid another 40 feet down the concrete barrier, coming to a rest on top of the barrier.

Another race official who was stationed on turn four says that such serious accidents are rare. He witnessed the tragic event, but would only say that the accident victim had been positioned behind the barrier on the back straightaway when the accident occurred, according to the Bakersfield Californian.

The injured race official was transported to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, but officials say that he did not survive—sadly, he was pronounced dead at the hospital Saturday evening.

Many roles, jobs and occupations may be surrounded by dangerous conditions. Safety devices and other measures may be in place to protect workers from injury or death, but accidents may still occur in a work environment. Officials from the raceway and fans alike have offered condolences to the family of the fatal accident victim. He had been associated with the track since 2009.

Source: The Bakersfield Californian, “Race official was in routine position,” Aug. 11, 2013

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