Race car spins out of control, flies into crowd - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Race car spins out of control, flies into crowd

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January 1, 2005

Dougherty County- Alejanera Belford had a good start as he raced his Mustang down the strip at the U.S. 19 Dragway, but about 50 feet before reaching the finish line things started to go wrong.

"He lost control about right here spun one direction, spun back the other direction, hit the fence, launched over the ditch into the crowd, blew up," says witness Donald Matthews.

Matthews and his friends were taping Belford's qualifying run, but never expected to capture what they say is one of the worst wrecks they've ever seen.

"I saw something in Orlando, a car blow up, but nothing like that," says Matthews. "I thought someone was dead or something like that. We all ran over there. There were people laying on the ground and everything like that."

"I thought he'd hit the guard rail and spin around and slide, I've seen that before. But this time he went over and it was just like everything was in slow motion. I was just hoping that nobody was going to get hurt bad," says Charles Morgan.

Family members were also in shock when they saw the crash.

"I didn't know what to think. I just went running down there," says Belford's cousin Fonta Gaines.

Gaines says Belford escaped the burning wreckage with second degree burns to his arm and legs. Witnesses say a male spectator was struck by the flying Mustang and suffered a broken leg.

His cousins can't help but count their blessings as they look at the charred remains of Belford's Mustang. They say Belford won't let the crash keep him away from a sport he has been competing in for nearly ten years even though it could have been a lot worse.

Both Belford and the spectator were transported to the hospital where they are being treated for their injuries. U.S. 19 Dragway personnel were able to repair the guard rail and finish the races.

Posted at 6:30 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com