An Off-Road Race Kills 8 & Injures 12

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An Off-Road Race Ends up Killing 8 People and Injures 12 More

The total amount to be awarded to the families of the eight people who were killed and the twelve people who were injured is $5.8 million. The accident occurred during the off-road racing event that was in the Mojave Desert’s Johnson Valley in August 2010.

The United States Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management will pay most of the settlement which is $4.8 million while the race organizers & promoters, Mojave Desert Racing Inc., as well as the Desert Racing (MDR) Productions, Inc. will pay their Insurance policy limits of $1 million. On Tuesday the Federal Government Lawyers reached the settlement during the mediation.

The race had an abrupt end when racer, Brett Sloppy had struck a sane berm then lost control of his truck which caused him to veer into the crowd. Tragically, he ended up killing 8 people, which most of those people were in their 20’s, and ended up injuring a dozen of other people. 

The people that were killed were: Danica Frantzich-20, Andrew Therrin-22, Anthony Sanchez-23, Zachary Freeman- 24, Dustin Malson-24, Aaron Farkas-25, Brian Wolfin-27, and Michael James Dickinson-34.

The complaints that were filed by the victims families were consolidated into one lawsuit. The lawsuit claimed that the specators killed or injured should have never been allowed to stand that close to the race track. It also stated that BLM had failed in its mandatory duty to insist that the race promoter comply with the permitting requirements.

 The arbitration is scheduled for March, this is where the federal judge will determine what each of the plaintiffs will receive in monetary damages. After the plaintiffs receive their shares from the settlement then the lawyers can get their cut for their services.

One of the Attorney’s in the case say that the outcome of the settlement may result in some of the plaintiffs not getting anything in the monetary damages.  For the wrongful death plaintiffs, usually a given amount is collectively awarded to all of the legal heirs of the person who died. 

The BLM report concluded that it did not follow its own standard procedures for permitting the event. The same report also showed that BLM was inconsistent in adhering to its event permitting procedures throughout it’s California Desert District. In response, the director of BLM instructed all managers to deny any application for events that could not meet the BLM’s permit procedures and the public safety standards.

Daniel A. Gibalevich
DAG Law Firm

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