Federal Agency To Investigate Deadly Off-Road Crash

Bureau Of Land Management Investigating Race Organized By Mojave Desert Racing

The Bureau of Land Management launched an investigation into the deadly off-road race that killed eight fans, including four San Diegans, and injured more than a dozen.

It happened when a truck when off the track and landed in a crowd lining the course.

In Saturday night's off-road racing disaster in the Lucerne Valley, four men from San Diego County -- Brian Wolfin, Aaron Farkas, Anthony Sanchez and Mike Dickinson -- are among the dead.

Dickinson's father spoke to 10News by phone.

"At this point I believe it's an accident," said Terry Dickinson. “You have fast-moving vehicles and you have undefined terrain... [it's] an unforeseen event.”

According to the Bureau of Land Management, Saturday's race was a sanctioned event organized by Mojave Desert Racing.

Mike Overcast, a racing expert and webcaster with Baja Racing News said he believes proper safety procedures were not followed.

"The sanctioning rules are that when you're operating a racing vehicle within 50 feet of a crowd you have to have your speed at 15 miles per hour or lower," said Overcast.

The Bureau of Land Management will determine whether those procedures were followed.

According to Overcast, the Bureau of Land Management issues about 35 race permits to organizers per year. The agency is now reviewing all the off-roading events in the desert for safety.

The driver of the truck, Brett Sloppy, wrote of his devastation on his Facebook page: "So incredibly lost and devastated my thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and friends involved... Thank you too all my friends for sticking with me even through these tragic times I love you all."

Back in 2008, Sloppy navigated the same race course, which was called the Rockpile.

Overcast said video of the crash showed the fans were too close and the driver going too fast when he plunged into the crowd.

"The responsible professionals are the land owners and race organizers,” he said. "The fans are just out there for fun; these are private citizens. To point a finger at these bereaved folks is wrong."