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Crash at racetrack kills boy 14, man, 68

LINDA, Calif., March 17 (UPI) — A race car careened over a retaining wall at a California racetrack, fatally striking the driver’s 14-year-old cousin and another car’s owner, officials said.

The Yuba County Sheriff’s Department said Sunday Marcus Joseph Johnson, 14, of Santa Rosa and Dale Richard Wondergem Jr., 68, of Grass Valley were hit by the winged sprint car while they stood in the pit area of Marysville Raceway Park about 6 p.m. Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Wondergem died at the scene, and Johnson was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a Marysville hospital, the newspaper said.

Track announcer Steven Blakesley identified the driver as 17-year-old Chase Johnson of Penngrove, who has competed in more than 500 races, The Sacramento Bee reported. He was uninjured.

Shortly after the accident, Blakesley tweeted: “We have had a very serious accident. Chase Johnson had a problem and flew into the pits. Several people appear to be injured.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Ron Johnson said it was still unclear what caused the accident, which occurred during warm-up laps for the California Sprint Car Civil War Series on the opening day of its season.

Track officials canceled the race following the crash and were unavailable for comment Sunday, the Chronicle said.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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