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1 ranger patrolled deadly Mojave Desert race

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

August 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Only one ranger was patrolling an off-road race in the Mojave Desert where a competing truck killed eight spectators, a federal agency admitted on Wednesday.

The Bureau of Land Management said that the ranger was patrolling the 50-mile race on Aug. 14 when a spectator flagged him down and reported the truck went flying into the crowd.

"The ranger immediately responded, and once at the scene, quickly assessed the situation, and called for emergency support," Jan Bedrosian, BLM deputy state director of external affairs, said in a statement.

The BLM had issued permits for the California 200 race, and the agency has maintained that the event's organizer, the Mojave Desert Racing Productions, was responsible for spectator safety.

With trucks flying by at speeds up to 100 mph, many spectators were mere feet from the desert course.

The tragedy has raised questions about the BLM's oversight of such events.

In an effort to step up enforcement following the crash, the BLM had eight employees, including three rangers, staff a motorcycle race in the same area last weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.