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Spectator, 57, is killed after car crashes at Georgia speedway and sprays audience with debris

Spectator 57 is killed after car crashes at Georgia speedway


Spectator, 57, is killed after Georgia speedway driver crashes their car into concrete retaining wall sending debris flying at audience through the chain link fence

  • Paul Ballenger, 57, of Royston was killed when debris hit him after a racing crash at the Hartwell Speedway in Georgia on Saturday night
  • One of the drivers during the later races of the evening lost control over his car’s steering and crashed into a retaining wall
  • Parts of the car then flew over the wall, with some parts flying through a chain link fence designed to protect fans in attendance 
  • Another unidentified man in his 30s was hurt during the incident, as well as a 9-year-old child. Their current conditions are not known
  • Meanwhile, the driver in the incident managed to walk away unhurt 
  • Investigators are looking at how debris managed to make it past the chain link fence and into the stands 

A harrowing car crash at a Georgia speedway left one spectator dead and two others injured after debris went flying into the chain link fence.

Crowds had filled the stands for dirt track races at Hartwell Speedway in Hartwell on Saturday night when the incident occurred.

According to Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland, one of the drivers during the later races of the evening lost control over his car’s steering and crashed into a retaining wall.

Parts of the car then flew over the wall, with some parts flying through a chain link fence designed to protect fans in attendance.

Paul Ballenger, 57, of Royston was killed when debris hit him while he was at the track trying to enjoy the races.

A harrowing car crash at a Georgia speedway left one spectator dead and two others injured after debris went flying into the chain link fence

A harrowing car crash at a Georgia speedway left one spectator dead and two others injured after debris went flying into the chain link fence

Paul Ballenger, 57, of Royston was killed when debris hit him while he was at the track trying to enjoy the races

Paul Ballenger, 57, of Royston was killed when debris hit him while he was at the track trying to enjoy the races

Paul Ballenger, 57, of Royston was killed when debris hit him while he was at the track trying to enjoy the races

Another unidentified man in his 30s was hurt during the incident, as well as a 9-year-old child. Their current conditions are not known.

Meanwhile, the driver in the incident managed to walk away unhurt. They have not been identified publicly.

It’s not clear if there’s any video of the incident to help investigators looking into the accident. 

The Hart County coroner was among those who responded after the crash, FOX Carolina reports.

‘Been around racing all my life, my daddy raced, I raced, my whole entire family’s raced, and I’ve never seen anything like that,’ witness Eddie Segars told FOX Carolina. He was in the pit area where the crash occurred.

‘Everybody’s traumatized of what happened especially to what happened last night,’ Segars continued. ‘All of our racing community’s coming together and waking up and maybe we can figure out some ways to prevent this from happening next time.’ 

Segars added that the victim was always willing to talk about racing with him.

Hartwell Speedway posted about the incident afterwards on Facebook, writing: ‘Everyone at Hartwell Speedway ask that you please keep those involved in the tragic accident tonight at the Speedway in your thoughts and prayers. We would also like to thank all those who came to the aide of those injured.’

Hartwell Speedway posted about the incident afterwards on Facebook

Hartwell Speedway posted about the incident afterwards on Facebook

Investigators are looking at how debris managed to make it past the chain link fence and into the stands

Investigators are looking at how debris managed to make it past the chain link fence and into the stands

A sign posted at the speedway tells visitors to enter at their own risk

A sign posted at the speedway tells visitors to enter at their own risk

WSB-TV reports that investigators are looking at how debris managed to make it past the chain link fence and into the stands.

DailyMail.com has reached out to Hartwell Speedway for comment on the incident and their future plans for the track. 

Hartwell Speedway is a 3/8 mile clay oval dirt track.

The city of Hartwell is located approximately 110 miles away from Atlanta. 

Ballenger was an auto body repair technician at the Ed Murdoch Ford Dealership in Lavonia.

An obituary on the Ginn Funeral Home website states that Ballenger is survived by two daughters and a son-in-law, as well as 14 grandchildren.

Ballenger was set to celebrate his 58th birthday this week. Services for the victim will be held on Thursday. 

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