Tragedy struck on Friday night in Tacoma, Wash., when a six-year-old kid was killed at a monster truck show. One of the giant trucks somehow launched a chunk of metal debris into the stands which hit the boy and an adult fan. In the face of the horrible incident, the producers of the show didn’t even bother to stop, continuing the show even as the boy’s parents and other fans screamed for assistance.
Sebastian Hizey was out on what was supposed to be a family-friendly outing to the truck rally. His mother and father were with him when a 7 to 12 pound chunk of metal flew out from underneath a vehicle called Natural High. The chunk hit Sebastian and another spectator in the head, and it reportedly took more than 10 minutes for medical assistance to reach the victims.
The TACOMA NEWS-TRIBUNE describes a frightening scene:
Debra Sharp’s son Shane, her 4-year-old grandson and her son’s girlfriend sat in the same Section 11 B at the east end of the Dome as the victims. Metal debris fell at their feet.
Sharp, who’d been sitting nearby, ran toward the chaos.
“I saw them one minute, then I didn’t see them,” she said. “Everybody was screaming, looking for help.”
The adult victim held his throat, tried to walk and collapsed, she added.
“The blood was everywhere,” she said. “My son’s girlfriend just covered my grandson’s face.”
Producers of the show said they didn’t stop the performance because they didn’t want to have everyone leaving the arena at once, perhaps impeding the paramedics in getting the victims out of the arena. Hizey’s father, Jessie, was not satisfied with that explanation:
“The least they could have done was stopped the show,” he said. Once the paramedics reached Sebastian and the injured man, everything in that area was already cleared out and they were near the doors, he added.
“I’m just personally disgusted with the way they handled it. They had no consideration” for the family, Jessie Hizey said.
There aren’t any high barriers around the ring where the trucks perform their stunts or whatever (I admit I’ve never been to one of these things). Attending motorsports events is never an entirely safe thing (debris has killed spectators at auto races before), but the issue here is that the monster truck shows are marketed as a family event. In fact, the closer you get, the better the show is supposed to be. Thinking about it, it’s somewhat shocking to me that something like this hasn’t happened before. These are huge vehicles, and if any piece of debris gets loose and starts churning in those oversized wheels, bad things are bound to happen.
The producers of the show expressed their sadness over the event (they’re surely facing a lawsuit), but forged ahead with a Saturday performance.
The quotes in the NEWS TRIBUNE story from Hizey’s parents and siblings are heartbreaking. But despite the incident, others don’t seem to have any problem taking their young children to the event:
Mike and Shawna of Bremerton were concerned when they heard about the accident, but it didn’t prevent them from bringing son, Christian, 3, to his first monster trucks show.
“As long as it’s checked and everything’s safe,” it should be OK, Mike Wernke said. “He’s pretty stoked,” he added, pointing to his son.