The Kerrville Police Department announced Friday afternoon that the final three people hospitalized from Oct. 23 drag racing crash at the Kerrville-Kerr County Airport were released from the hospital.
The deadly crash claimed the lives of three people, including two young boys. Four people were critically injured, including the driver. Rebecca Cedillo, one of the injured, died at University Hospital early Wednesday morning.
Chance Dean Jones, 26, and Katie Walls, 27, who share a three-month-old daughter, were critically injured, but Jones' six-year-old son, Daniel, was killed when the 1990 Ford Mustang veered off the airport runway, serving as a drag strip, and into the crowd. Eyewitnesses said Jones was holding the three-month-old girl and a four-year-old son before being hit. The other two children escaped serious injuries.
Santiago Martinez, 8, died on Saturday at Peterson Regional Medical Center. Martinez's funeral happened Thursday in San Antonio. Martinez is related to Cedillo.
On Friday, San Antonio television stations reported that the families of Cedillo and and Martinez had retained lawyers to investigate the incident that led to their deaths.
Police said Gonzales was behind the wheel of the Ford Mustang. In videos obtained by San Antonio television stations, the Mustang is smoking about halfway down the 1/8-mile track, losing control before veering to his left into the crowd about 100-feet from the finish line.
Helicopters took Cedillo, Jones, Walls and Gonzales to trauma hospitals in San Antonio and Austin. Kerrville police said Walls and JOnes face a long recovery.
QUESTIONS ABOUT SAFETY
For veteran racers, one of the curious things about the Oct. 23 Race Wars 2 was the lack of barriers past the finish line and or shutdown areas. In turn, the crowd extended itself into the shutdown area — one of the most dangerous places on the race track.
In an Oct. 21 interview, Kerrville-Kerr County Airport Manager Mary Rohrer said the water-filled barriers would cover 900-feet of the 660-foot race track. Here's an excerpt from the interview with The Lead's Louis Amestoy, The Lead Live co-host Delayne Sigerman, Kerrville City Councilwoman Judy Eychner and Rohrer:
Rohrer: Yeah the length of the race is pretty short
Amestoy: 1/8-of a mile.
Rohrer: So, 650 feet. So you know they can get up to good speeds, and I guess they get up to 100 miles per hour in that little section. But anyway, we have what's called, this year we've incorporated into this system, what they call Jersey Barriers — what you see on the highway. They get filled with water. So, that will protect the spectators on both sides as well as the racers.
Amestoy: Is that along the whole side?
Rohrer: Yeah, like 900 feet of the race (track).
During the interview, Rohrer admits that she didn't know much about racing and deferred to organizer Ross Dunagan's expertise in the sport. If the shutdown area would have had extended barriers, it would have stopped the out-of-control car.
The site of the crash was about 150 feet from the finish line. A number of eyewitnesses told The Lead they questioned whether the water barriers will filled. One eyewitness, who asked not to be identified because of the investigation, said he saw race volunteers kick the barriers back into place after an earlier crash. A 6-foot barrier should weigh more than 1,000 pounds when filled. Dunagan posted a video before the providing a brief overview of the barriers being filled with water by a city of Kerrville tender.
It's not the only contradictory statement to come out of the race, Dunagan told told a fan via a social media post they would be 50-feet from the racing.
However, the announcers and Kerrville Police had to tell people to get back from the track. Kerrville police said they are continuing to investigate the crash.