Dario Franchitti IndyCar crash at Grand Prix Houston sends fence debris flying into crowd, 15 injured
October 7, 2013 (HOUSTON) -- IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti is still in the hospital following a wreck yesterday at the Grand Prix of Houston that sent debris into the crowd, injuring several spectators and a race official.
The car of Franchitti launched over Takuma Sato's and sailed into the fence on the final lap. Debris was showered into the grandstand from both the cars colliding and the impact with the fence, and Franchitti's badly-damaged car bounced back onto the track. E.J. Viso then hit Sato's car.
"The car hit the fence like I've never seen before in my life," spectator Noah Tramel said. "It was insane. Absolutely crazy."
A video was sent in by ABC13 viewer Josh Jordan. You can see the camera jolting from the impact followed by a chorus of gasps from spectators. Another video shot by David M. Foucard shows a tighter view of the moment of impact.
"A piece of fence had landed to where a lady was trapped underneath it, so she was very lucky when we walked over here. She was crawling underneath the fence to get out," spectator Paul Basaldua said.
Another home video sent in exclusively to ABC13 shows fans lifting the fence to get away from the debris.
"One guy came down and was bleeding from his head," Basaldua said. "He was with a little girl, probably his granddaughter, and she was shaken up pretty bad."
A total of 13 spectators were injured in the accident. Eleven of them were treated at the scene, but two fans were transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, along with Franchitti, a four-time IndyCar champion, and an official with IndyCar. As of this morning, only Franchitti remained in the hospital.
The chaos in the aftermath had everyone scrambling to help those injured.
"We were at one of the vendor booths and there was some crew people that came around and asked, 'Do you have giveaway shirts so we can give to the people that got hurt?'" Oliver Chen said.
At last check, Franchitti was in fair condition at Memorial Hermann. According to IndyCar officials, Franchitti suffered a concussion, spinal fracture that will not require surgery and a fracture to the right ankle.
An official statement by race organizers reads, in part: "Following an accident that occurred on-track at the Grand Prix of Houston this afternoon our greatest concern is for our fans and participants... Officials are investigating the incident and currently do not have further information at this time. Fan and driver safety are always a primary concern and we will provide further details as they are available."
After the wreck, the caution came out to freeze the field, allowing Penske Racing's Will Power to win the race, holding off Scott Power.
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