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One Killed As Mud-Racing Jeep Crashes

August 17, 2003

PILOT, N.C. (AP) _ A mud-racing Jeep crashed through a chain-link fence into a crowd of spectators, killing one woman and injuring her daughter and 19 others.

The victim’s name was being withheld until family members were notified, Franklin County Sheriff Jerry Jones said Sunday. Her daughter was in critical condition with a head injury, and another woman suffered two broken legs.

Driver A.J. McCoy, 28, was not hurt, Jones said.

McCoy was driving a Jeep Wrangler in a ``mudsling″ event Saturday night, a straight-line course in a mud pit about the length of a football field, Jones said.

``He was full throttle when he came out of that pit,″ said Tommy Floyd, a firefighter who was in the audience.

The Jeep completed the course but then kept going, finally stopping on top of the downed fence.

Hugh Williams, the track owner, said he talked to McCoy after the accident.

``There’s no question the throttle was just stuck open,″ Williams said. ``He said he patted it and patted it and he just couldn’t do anything.″

The sheriff said he would meet Monday with the district attorney to discuss possible charges.

Jones estimated 300 to 500 people were at the track, about 25 miles east of Raleigh.

He said investigators were checking to see whether any rules _ the county’s or those of any race-sanctioning organization _ dictated whether the chain-link fence was acceptable protection for the crowd.

Williams said track officials warn spectators to ``be on your toes because we’re believing anything can happen.″

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