The Transylvania Times -

Box Derby Will Not Race At Festival

 

May 13, 2019



The box derby races will not be held during this year’s White Squirrel Festival, with last year’s accident during a race the apparent reason.

Gary Kendrick, one of six people injured on May 27, 2018, during the box derby race, died a few days later.

“It was a natural reaction to a bad situation that there just literally was not any conversation on having the derby race again,” said Heart of Brevard President Jimmy Perkins. “There was never a gathering of people, that I’m aware of, in the Heart of Brevard, where people sat down and evaluated whether it should or should not move forward. There was simply no interest in moving forward with it from anybody.”

Transylvania County Schools and the Heart of Brevard partnered on the races’ organization.

“What happened last year was tragic, and I certainly feel for everyone involved,” Perkins said. “I happened to have known everyone involved, from both the car builders and sponsors to the people who got hurt, so it was a very personal thing for me, as well.”

The initial accident occurred as two racers were going down North Broad Street. One of the racers said he heard a “pop” in his derby car, and said he immediately went right, striking the spectators, according to a police report at the time.

Of those six, one was treated at the scene, four went to Transylvania Regional Hospital and the 66-year-old Kendrick was flown to Mission Hospital.

Days after last year’s accident, Tanne Traywick, one of those injured, filed a lawsuit claiming the Transylvania County Board of Education, the Heart of Brevard and the car’s designers and builders were negligent in the May 27 accident. Traywick had requested damages “in excess of” $25,000 to be recovered from the defendants as a result of her injuries.

According to court records, the parties will take part in a mediated settlement conference that is to be completed by Oct. 2. According to the lawsuit, Traywick was “seriously and permanently” injured in the accident.

The lawsuit concluded by saying the Transylvania County Board of Education and the Heart of Brevard were negligent because they failed to provide “adequate barriers for the protection of spectators crowded together at the finish line, failing to provide a safe and sufficient area for racers to bring their vehicles to a safe and controlled stop after the finish line, permitting an inadequately equipped vehicle to be driven at high speed along a course lined with unprotected spectators, failing to warn spectators of the dangers posed by the conditions existing between the finish line and the end of the race course, and permitting a 13-year-old boy to operate a vehicle at a high speed along a steep race course lined with tightly crowded and unsuspecting spectators.”

A trial date, according to the mediation form, is set for Jan. 1, 2020.

 
 

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