Driver in deadly desert race breaks his silence - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Driver in deadly desert race breaks his silence, shares chilling video

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SAN MARCOS (AP/CBS 8) - A San Marcos driver whose truck plowed into a crowd of spectators during an off-road race in the Mojave Desert is breaking his silence, nearly a year after the deadly crash.

Brett Sloppy says he spent the hours before the "California 200" race began triple checking his truck and taking notes on the course.

But once the race started, things didn't go as he planned.

"I got to the rock pile where it's the big spectacting spot," he says. "I caught up to a slower vehicle, a slower truck in front of me, and I was in his dust. I started slowing down, and I got off the jump and when I landed... the steering wheel yanked right out of my hand. And that's never happened like that before, the wheel just ripped out of my hands. And the truck instantly went sideways... into the crowd."

Sloppy says he can't explain why the steering wheel jerked out of his grip at that moment.

"I could've hit a rock. I could've just landed wrong... anything. But when that steering wheel ripped out of my hands I had no control," Sloppy says.

He adds that he believes last summer's crash was an accident and says "somebody" should have kept spectators at a safe distance from the track.

Eight people were killed and a dozen others were injured Aug. 14 when Sloppy's truck slammed into the crowd and ended up on its roof.

Video showed fans standing within feet of the sand track as trucks sped by. A camera mounted on Sloppy's truck reveals chilling never-before-seen video of the accident and the fatal aftermath.

"That was the worst visual, worst sight of my life and I do not want to see that again," Sloppy says.

The tragedy raised questions about the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's oversight of such events. Sloppy has not entered any races this that tragic day.

He says. "I didn't want to hide. I wanted to get out and say my apologies and talk to these family members."

Authorities did not press charges against Sloppy, but he is accused of reckless driving in three pending lawsuits.

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