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FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Car engine kills spectator at Harrells Raceway

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Car engine kills spectator at Harrells Raceway
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Harrells, NC – On Sunday, May 16th, around 9:18 PM, an accident at the Harrells Raceway on 3030 Buckhorn Road, Harrells, NC, claimed the life of a spectator.

During a two car drag race, on dual lanes, a race car operated by Joseph Wactor of Brooklyn, NY, lost control and struck the guardrail. The vehicle was traveling approximately 130- 135 mph when it hit the guardrail, and the vehicle started disintegrating. The vehicle’s engine was thrown approximately 100 feet and landed on a bystander, who was standing along the raceway’s chain link fence.

The bystander, Terry McDougald, of Lillington, NC, died on the scene. The driver of the race car, Mr. Wactor, suffered several injuries but refused medical treatment after a helicopter from the hospital in Wilmington landed on the scene.

A second spectator was injured when a burning fuel cell from the vehicle flew past them. The burned spectator was transported to the hospital for treatment.

Several vehicles were damaged by flying debris from the crash. No other injuries were reported. Rumors circulated on the scene that the flying engine threw the deceased into a motor home, however investigation revealed other parts from the vehicle struck the motor home and the deceased did not strike the vehicle.

Weather conditions are not being considered as factors in the accident. It was not raining at the time of the crash, however it had rained earlier in the night. Raceway crews dried the strip, and several races had been conducted between the rain shower and the crash. There are no indications to indicate foul play, however the incident is still under investigation to determine the exact cause of the crash.

INFORMATION FROM A NEWS RELEASE SENT TO THE WWAY NEWSCHANNEL 3 NEWSROOM...

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HARRELLS, NC (WWAY) - Sampson County Sheriff's Investigators say a driver lost control of his car while drag racing at the Harrells's Raceway Sunday Night.

An investigator says the car's engine flew off, tore through a fence and struck a spectator throwing him at least 40 feet and into the front windshield of an RV. The impact killed him instantly. Another spectator was burned and was taken to the hospital in Wilmington.

Emergency workers cut the driver out of the car. He was also taken to the hospital. No word this morning on their condition.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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what really happen from my side

Well this is my uncle & honestly the driver didn't even say sorry all we heard was " _____ always puts on a show " and it hurts so bad inside was the last person to talk to him. we was standing beside him and that night , I felt like my world came to a end know he was gone no bringing him back. other driver told my daddy that the man had a few drinks & wouldn't let anyone else drive. by the time the 1st car reached the finish line he took off , I had a feeling something was going to happen by the time her hit the 1st wall I knew to run but my mouth count say anything. My cousin got burned & was taking to hospital that night to. People was saying my uncle got hit by the motor , HE DIDN'T! HE GOT HIT BY THE FORCE OF SOMETHING OFF THE CAR. He only had broken bones. Thank You to the ones that sent prays. nothing is wrong with the track it was just bad timing & the wrong race, but again thank you. it still hard knowing he's gone but we know he rather it been him then the young ones .

SUE SUE SUE SUE

GOD BLESS THE FAMILY OF THE DECEASED. THEY SHOULD GET A GOOD LAWYER IMMEDIATELY. THEN THEY WILL OWN THIS RED NECK RACE TRACK.

Sure thing Matlock

Sue for what? An accident? I do believe you release the track from liability when you enter either to race or watch.

Safe drag strip? Safe race car?

Been operating drag strips and oval tracks for over 30 years.

There are elements of danger in literally everything we do.

Precautions and safety considerations are abundant by the folks that run these tracks.
Some more than others. But to suggest there is a "safe" race track, or a "safe" race car
just isn't reality.

There is no such thing as a safe race car or a safe race track ! Some of each are just less dangerous than others.

Suit up and strap in,............ let's race.

There is a season

Didn't anyone see Final Destination? When your number's up ........it's up!

Japanese parts???

all i gota say is these people are freaking idiots! i have stockers and superstockers in Nhra and Ihra. outa all the years we have been racing and all the money we have spent i have never once had any part on my car that anything but American made. to hear dumbass' like these comment and "down" dragracers and dragracing really pisses me off. Yall need to go out and spend the time and money that we do b4 u judge what this is all about. This was a freak accident!!! and nothing else!!! if yall wanta talk junk bout this then u should question urself every morning wen getting into ur street car. These dragcars are much more advanced and safe than anything u dumbass' have ever sat in. plus i knew these guys who were racing in this accident and i would appreciate it if everybody would sennd blessings to these guys instead of downing them. they did nothing wrong!!!

no need.....

In thinking drag racing should be out-lawed.
Actually I race at a well known track on the east coast and when u pay at the gate as a spectator...U sign a waiver that keeps the track from being liable for ANYTHING that may happen during your time spent there from the time u enter that gate and leave the gate, and the Racer's sign a tech card with the same thing. It say's u enter and participate at your own risk. I am sure the track's follow the same format.

Quality information

I think this is a horrible site, but like the other comment. I think you should maybe try it first, unless you either dont have the money or the talent. Ive been building race cars and motors since I was about 7, and this is the only race car that Ive heard of the motor coming out of the car. If anything from running my car there should be more tech. done to the cars before a run but other than that your car is what you built. Drag racing is one of the most popular motor sports in america behind nascar and it will never go away.

where is the common sense

i can not believe all this about ending drag racing, i built pro mod cars as a living and love drag racing ,how ever i have common sense.I know that any thing in life can be dangerous, so i am safety conscious.Im sure that all though tragic, the gentleman that lost his life was enjoying a race and new the risk he was taking standing right up against the fence. look at all the people standing around at a golf game on tv when tiger woods is teeing off. If he sliced the ball and it killed one of them would we be punished and not allowed to play golf again? No because common sense tells us that sh*t happens! God its people like these that make it necessary to put the "caution hot" label on coffee cups. sissy's like this are the decay that is rotting this country away, stop being so scared and worry about your own dam problems.Drag racing is an amazing sport, and just like anything in life has its risks. My sympathy to the family of the man that died and also the gentleman that was injured, and pro stock Joe!

dragracing

Harrells dragway is a very safe place,Yes this was a freak accident.All of us that were there and wernt feel very bad for the family. Drag Racing is a faimly sport. A very fun sport!! It is better than street racing. More people get hurt driving to work everyday!!

if this had been a nascar

if this had been a nascar race then the media wouldve been all over it because everyone thinks these guys can do no wrong in anything they do! once something happens at a drag strip the world is quick to point fingers!

What an IDIOT!!!

Capone, you are a MORON! Outlaw Drag Racing? As tragic as this is, no one forced the deceased to go to the race. Yes its a bad deal all around, but stuff happens. What about the basket ball player that dies because of a heart problem, or the football player that gets his neck broken, or the baseball fan that gets hit with a ball in his temple and dies??? Its people like this that has no clue about Drag Racing that is the threat to the sport that me and others participate and enjoy.

YES CLOSE ALL OF THOSE NO

YES CLOSE ALL OF THOSE NO GOOD TRACKS DOWN. THE DECEASED FAMILY SHOULD SUE FOR WRONGFUL DEATH. NO ONE SHOULD DIE WATCHING A RACE. ALL OF YOU THAT ARE MAKING THOSE COMMENTS WOULDN'T MAKE THEM IF ONE OF THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS WERE KILLED.

GOD BLESS THE MCDOUGALD FAMILY!!

i don't think they should do

i don't think they should do away with drag racing. my husband races and there's nothing wrong with the sport. they may want to do away with how close you can stand to the track, as in move the fence back or put up longer guard rails. awhile back there was an accident at a NHRA race, where a tire or something flew off the car and hit a woman in the stands and killed her, its just freak accidents. but my thoughts and prayers do go out to the families that were involved.

dragracing

This is terriable news,i will keep everyone involed in my prayers.My husband is a dragracer and my son loves to go.This shows how dangerous this sport can be for drivers and spectators.It is so sad that a life was lost.

drag racing should be

drag racing should be out-lawed--very dangerous for any people hanging on the side lines--also cars use japanese parts and are not safe going down the track

dumba$$ coments

Dude this capone fella evidently does not know anything about dragracing. You have been watching way to much FAST AND FURIOUS movies. I dragrace in stock and super stock in Nhra and Ihra our cars have to go through a huge Tech inspection b4 each race. if there was any crappy parts on our cars we would be thrown out. so u need to go spend the kinda money and time on stuff like this like my family and i do b4 u go blabbin your mouth bout things you know absolutly nothing about. thanks

DRAG RACING SHOULD NOT BE

DRAG RACING SHOULD NOT BE OUTLAWED JUST CUASE OF AN ACCIDENT IT IS THE RISK YOU TAKE EVERY TIME YOU GO TO THE TRACK. PEOPLE GET KILLED DRIVING DOWN THE STREET AND THEY AINT OUTLAWED DRIVING. DRAG CARS ARE ONE OF THE SAFEST CARS THERE ARE.

UNEDUCATED

YOU SIR HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. 99 PERCENT OF DRAG RACING..NOT STREET RACING...IS OPERATED BY A SANCINING BODY WITH RULES AND SAFETY REGULATIONS. GO CHECK OUT THE NHRA, IHRA, ORSCA, NMCA, NMRA AND MANY OTHER . UNEDUCATED MORONS LIKE YOU THAT SEE AN ACCIDENT AND MAKE YOUR COMMENTS LIKE THIS ARE THE ONE WHO SHOULD BE BANNED. MORE PEOPLE ARE HURT WALKING DOWN THE SIDEWALK THAN IN ORGANIZED MOTORSPORTS.

do you know how stupid that

do you know how stupid that sounds???that is like saying you should ban driving beacuse some one got hit by a car...there are people waliking on the side walks with no barrier between them and oncoming traffic, you evidently know nothing about our sport that feeds my family, no engine parts or structure of these cars are built in japan, we hand build them one at a time right here in the great ol' usa.with the drivers safety being number one priority, what happened here was a freak accident and not saying that it will not ever happen again, it is not a likely as you dying pulling out of your driveway in the morning on the way to work
Chris Evans

Agree

I have to agree! Chances are better at a race track then walking down the street!

Right now the japanese have

Right now the japanese have the best vehicles on the market for gas mileage and reliability.
And you saying outlaw drag racing why? why not outlaw driving period people die doing that alot more than racing

Outlaw football

Maybe they should outlaw football too. How many high school students have died playing it. I'll bet they use Chinese helmets.

You are a Idiot . so every

You are a Idiot . so every time someone gets hurt doing something we should ban it? Dumb**s!!!!

This is the most assanine,

This is the most assanine, ridiculous, ignorant statement I have ever read on any forum.

You have no clue what your talking about. Please, for the love of god, shut up.

then I guess so should

then I guess so should Nascar,Mudd Slinging,go cart racing, motorcycle racing... and any other sport that has foreign parts..I mean your statement also means that it is not safe to get in your own car and drive down the road...drag racing is a sport and with any sport you are going to have fans that want to be as close to the action as possible..and as with everyday life waking up and walking out your door there is a possiblity of something happening to you as there is no promise of tomorrow. I do agree that it is dangerous to hang around on the sidelines but people do not think about the "possible danger" of something happening at that given time. My heart goes out to everyone that was involved or affected by this tragedy and their family are in my prayers...but you have to realize this is not the only sport that someone has been injured at or died from.

Japanese Mechanics

The problem with the Japanese parts is that, although superior to American made parts, have instructions in Japanese. There is a glaring absence of formally trained Japanese mechanics. If we could increase the number of Japanese mechanics, the parts would be installed correctly and there would be far less accidents. In Japan there has not been a drag racing accident in over 100 years.

Where do you people get your

Where do you people get your information from. You do not have a clue!

Japanese Instructions

You just might be the second dumbest person who has replied here. I work on high performance street cars and race cars for a living. I don't speak Japanese.. matter of fact few of the parts come from Japan for a Pro Mod car like this, nor would inability to read the directions be the cause. You should educate yourself.

Idiot Again

Who ever even said it was a part failure? There's more wrecks from traction issues than parts failing and how! Ignorance.....