Updated 7/22: According to information provided by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the driver, Jerry Oliver, has been charged with driving under the influence, eight counts of aggravated assault and carrying an open container. Oliver remains hospitalized at Memphis Regional One Health Medical Center in critical condition. Track owner Scott Wood has estimated the total damage to the racetrack at $3,800.
Earlier: A man was injured on Saturday night at Tennessee’s Jackson Dragway following a nightmarish on-track, non-racing-related incident that horrified onlookers.
According to eyewitness reports, a man who had been spectating at the track’s Open Outlaw Racing event navigated his white Pontiac Grand Prix onto the 1/8-mile track from the strip’s terminus at around 11:30 p.m., reportedly just missing the slowing machine of Brant Arnold in the shutdown area. Accelerating at an estimated 80 to 85 mph, the man sped toward the starting line, where drivers Chris Mineker, Joe Castellaw, and their crews were preparing to make a pass. The driver, at the last second, swerved and struck the concrete lane dividers that protects the christmas tree head-on.
Thanks to the quick reactions by the track starter to the pair of headlights speeding toward him, those on the starting line were able to scramble to safety, including Tracy Brown, who captured much of the ordeal on camera.
Hopefully the video you are about to see will make you more diligent about paying attention to your surroundings and the actions of others around you!Posted by Tracy L. Brown on Sunday, July 21, 2019
Per a number of sources on the scene based on findings in the vehicle, the driver may have been under the influence. According to information provided by a witness, two children who were present with the driver had expressed concern prior to the incident and had been safely provided transportation home just minutes prior. The driver, who was tended to first by medical personnel on the scene and later by emergency medical staff, was flown to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Along his path, the driver struck the timing blocks along the center of the track and the christmas tree, and the damage to the timing system, combined with the clean-up and police investigation, forced the cancellation of the event.
As of Sunday morning, the Madison County Sheriffs Office had not filed an official report. Messages to track owner Scott Wood for a statement this morning were not returned.