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Jan. 17, 2009 at 11:08pm

The Show Must Go On: Monster Truck Kills Small Boy


monster truck

 A child was killed in his chair at the TACOMA DOME when flying car parts shot from the tire of a speeding monster truck. �The dead child and hysterical family were ushered out of the TACOMA DOME and then MONSTER TRUCK MAYHEM continued on its happy way. �

I suppose most americans have no problem enjoying themselved while innocent children are killed (viz Iraq, Gaza, Africa etc)... �I mean it's not like YOUR child is being killed right? �

My question is this... tacoma history people... �is this the first little boy to be killed inside the Tacoma Dome? �

comments [45]  |  posted under child killing, monster truck, tacoma, tacoma dome


by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 1:16am
Word from've seen the last monster truck show at the Dome.

by deeble interactive on 1/18/2009 @ 1:17am
"I unfortunately saw the incident. Parts of the suspension and shocks seem to explode. The next thing I saw was the little boy with massive blood loss, people moving away to give room. The response was slow for help. The noise was too much and interfered with communications and treatment of the wounded. I was shocked they did't stop the show."

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/18/2009 @ 1:50am
From the Tribune, I believe it answers the question:

"Monster truck shows are a mainstay of Dome business and a regional draw for families. The trucks – weighing 9,000 pounds or more – drive over obstacles, pop wheelies and engage in competitions. They’ve been revving up fans in the Dome for more than 20 years, and Feld has “a stellar safety record,” said Mike Combs, the city’s director of public assembly facilities. No similar incident has ever occurred, he added."

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 1:58am
Well, the Dome and the Monster Truck shows specifically can longer claim to have a "steller safety record." People buying tickets for entertainment at the Dome have a reasonable expectation that they won't be going home in a body bag. I don't think the public is going to embrace this activity any longer, see what happens at the city council.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/18/2009 @ 2:43am
Seem to me that people were lined up pretty thick to get into today's performances. I believe this is being described as a freak accident. People like monster trucks, I can't explain it but they seem to like it and it is a money maker for the City, indeed, as they say a mainstay of Dome business and a regional draw for the families. This is very important for the Dome's business. I can not imagine that the city will want to give up on this with the economy the way it is. People like motor sports and we seem to have a huge population that supports them. You don't see this kind of thing up in Seattle but that is another thing all together.

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 2:47am
I'm sure the family of the victim will take comfort from understanding the lucrative nature of this 'sport'.

Hey I've got a great new slogan for the dome- "Come for the excitement...stay for the carnage!"

by scout on 1/18/2009 @ 2:48am
I guess I'm not the only insomniac in this town...

by scout on 1/18/2009 @ 3:00am
It was an awful freak accident - and additional precautions may have to be taken but terrible things happen sometimes. To make sweeping decisions or moralize about the cultural preferences of different groups in our society because of this terrible accident is a bit wacko.

I think it happened because Bush is still president - Obama would have never allowed this to happen ;-)

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/18/2009 @ 3:23am
I'm not crazy about Tacoma being the Monster Truck capitol of the Northwest but that seems to be the best we can do here. It certainly explains a lot about what is popular and what works in Tacoma.

We that are insomniacs need an all night coffee shop downtown. How I miss the old Iron Horse.

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 3:23am
What sort of precautions would you suggest? Maybe they could drive golf carts instead of monster trucks. A monster truck by definition is a vehicle capable of massive destruction, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more frequently.

On a side note, I think it's OK for taxpayers to "moralize" about the appropriate uses of a taxpayer owned facility.Those people who have a cultural {?} preference for watching this sort of entertainment can certainly rent out some privately owned venue and do as they wish. At the very least, the city council should declare a moritorium on the monster truck shows. Wacko? Maybe, but a cavalier attitude in the face of this incredible tragedy is just not appropriate.

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 3:58am
Feld Motor Sports will be hosting 2 more monster truck shows on Sunday at, you guessed it, the Tacoma Dome. Business as usual for Feld and, by extension, for the city of Tacoma.

Regarding the nature of the accident, previously described as "freak": you might wish to google "Monster Truck Tragedy". Accidents similar to Fridays are more common in the Monster Truck business than you might imagine.

by AngelaJossy on 1/18/2009 @ 8:23am
Try googling the words "spectator killed." It happens a lot more than you might think. Especially in motor sports like car racing.

by intacoma on 1/18/2009 @ 8:33am
I'm sad this happened but if people banned everything where someone got killed/hurt I'm not sure there would be anything to do in this world.

I'm not really sure how the situation should have been handled, because as the promotion group if you were to call the show would that have meant they would have refunded everyone?

Like I personally would have wanted the show to end but have you ever been to the shows, it really brings a different crowd... (thats another reason I like going, people watching)

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 9:18am
Good points intacoma. I didn't actuatlly recommend banning monster truck shows,. just not in a public owned forum. I think Mayor Baarsma has the authority and responsibility to cancel today's shows.

While the tragedies are occasional in nature, the potential for catastrophe is unacceptable. Should the show go on if a truck leaps into the stands and mows down dozens of spectators? People watching, fine. People watching carnage, not fine.

by AngelaJossy on 1/18/2009 @ 9:40am
Did you see the video posted by in-Tacoma today? There seemed to be more wipeouts than there were successful tricks. Have you ever watched a boxing match? Car racing? Even ice skating for crying out loud?

It saddens me but people like to see carnage. They go to these shows secretly hoping something bad will happen.

If violence didn't sell then our entertainment options across the board would be remarkably different.

People like to see things go crunch and as long as they pay money for it, Tacoma Dome and everybody else in the sports and entertainment business will keep dishing it out.

I just hope they figure out a way to shield the audience from now on like they do with some other sporting events.

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 10:48am
Do you think a 6 year old spectator has made an informed judgement about the safety risks he has accepted by going with dad to the monster truck show? This really isn't family entertainment, it should be adults only. Kids can watch it on video without risking decapitation.

Comparing monster truck shows to boxing: The goal of boxing is the "knockout." It's violent, but the violence is confined to the ring. The truck show is violent but there's no similar assurance that the violence is going to be confined. I haven't heard much about violence in ice skating, but if that's a problem we should look at that too.

Again, I oppose monster truck shows in the taxpayer owned facility, not the prohibition of the shows. There's going to be a lawsuit naming the city of Tacoma as a defendant before we're finished with this incident.

by ixia on 1/18/2009 @ 10:48am
"it took more than 10 minutes for the medics to arrive"

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 10:53am
Ixia@ Agreed, that was an unacceptable delay. Little Sebastian might have made it had the response been more timely.

by intacoma on 1/18/2009 @ 11:51am
I still think the precautions were in place to protect the spectators, but the real problem was with the response. Nearly ever sport that you watch live you can die at. Baseball, hockey, foodball etc.

I actually have a personal experience with this while waiting in line at a sabercats came a hockey puck launched out into the stands and hit my little sister of 12 years old right in the back of the head. Within seconds we were escorted to a private room where a medic examiner her, luckily no brain damage... anyways the point there was they had a plan

For the most part it just sounded like they didn't have a plan.

re: video posted on of bmxers falling etc, thats what makes skating/bmxing fun its EXTREEEEME.

People enjoy seeing things they dont see everyday, the circus is a classic example.

The Tacomadome is so useless now I'm not sure if taking away another thing that goes on there is such a good thing, but thats already been preached enough

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 12:13pm
Intacoma@ You're right. The potential for harm exists at all the sports events you mentioned. However, the potential harm at a motor sports event eclipses the harm possible where the only risk is a ball, bat, or puck flying through the air. Yes, people want to see something they don't see everyday. For just that reason people like to attend dog fights and cock fights. Interestingly, those events are not allowed.

A previous comment alluded to the money brought in by the popular monster truck events. All right, let's total up the net results for all such events ever held at the dome. Now subtract the amount it's going to cost to defend the coming law suit including the potential payout. Is there anything left? As a taxpayer I resent the exposure to this cockamamie spectacle.

by AngelaJossy on 1/18/2009 @ 12:26pm
Even if Tacoma Dome and city council can't or won't do anything differently, perhaps mothers everywhere will add monster truck rallies to the list of things their children are forbidden to do. My mother forbid me to go to rock concerts. She probably read about rib crushing incidents and the tragedy at Altamont. This story was widely reported across the nation. The negative publicity should dampen attendance one would imagine.

I was so shocked and horrified by this story. My heart broke when I saw the picture of the boy with his dad taken moments before the accident. My eyes filled with tears when I read that he died at the hospital. It reminded me how unpredictable life is. I've never been to a monster truck show but I always thought of them as a family event - fathers and sons, you know? I'm sure we haven't heard the end of this. I don't want to join any lynch mobs over it - two sides to every story and all that. I would sign a petition to ask for stiffer safety regulations and protective measures for the audience though. It seems like they are making enough money on these events to be able to afford it.

by intacoma on 1/18/2009 @ 1:06pm
Life is indeed dangerous and anyone loosing their life early is extremely tragic, I agree Angela I hope parents do add such things to their list.

@fredo do you think that waiver on the back of the ticket will hold up in court?

I remember there being some sort of contract waiving the venue/promoter of any likability by purchasing and signing the ticket before entrance

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 1:12pm
intacoma@ Nope. That "boilerplate" will be the promoter's and the city of Tacoma's main defense. If the case goes to a jury they will be able to weigh the evidence including the waiver including disregarding it. If you were on the jury and saw a picture of the little boy in the morgue and then looked at the back of the ticket which would have a greater effect? For the record, I'm not an attorney.

by Twisty on 1/18/2009 @ 1:35pm
Nonsense, Fredo.

Every single year, somewhere, a baseball fan suffers a skull fracture from a foul ball. Every. Single. Year. As often as not, it's a little kid.

But nobody's talking about banning baseball.

The debris that hit this kid could have just as easily landed where nobody was sitting, or it could have hit him someplace other than the head. It was a freak accident, that's all.

by Evil_Derek on 1/18/2009 @ 1:35pm
me think rr should do cartoon... me draw example:

monster truck tacoma dome

by Dave_L on 1/18/2009 @ 1:36pm
While Monster Trucks are definitely not among my favorite form of motorsports (or motorshow), my son had recently become interested in them (clever marketing), so we took the opportunity for some father-son time without big sister. I was surprised how much tickets were, even before Ticketmaster mark-up, and didn't realize the shows totally sell out. So we took the Link and walked up the hill through the mass of ticket scalpers on every corner and in front of the Dome taking advantage of parents trying to find tickets. I sold my extra ticket at face value to a father, only to see him turned away because one of the tickets he bought for double the price from a scalper was bogus. The bootleg (I'm assuming) T-shirt vendors were doing a brisk business on the Dome ramp because their prices were good. Personally I don't like the nature of the event, which to me seems like "Pro" wresting (no offense to those who worked in that biz). But I have to admit, perhaps in the same way, it was entertaining, and H.P. is H.P. The demolition derby was entertaining, too. Since we got there late, we missed the moment of silence they apparently did before the show. I had no idea a boy was killed the night before until my boss called afterwards to make sure we were safe. While watching the trucks revving their massive horsepower, doing their doughnuts, with dirt flying for yards, it occurred to me that was a lot of energy haphazardly being dissipated in all directions, surrounded 360-degrees by families having some clean, entertaining fun. There didn't seem to be much protecting the fans, except some curtains to contain the flying dirt and blocking the first few rows. Sitting in the second row, I was a bit concerned, hoping there were no rocks in all that dirt being thrown around. There isn't a lot of vehicular speed, but a lot of tire spinning and revving and jumping. Yes, if a truck rolls over, and especially if it rights itself, the fans love it. There's little risk to the driver and in this case it's part of the show. It seems safer watching that energy go around a contained road course or 1320-ft. in a straight line, though there are freak accidents there, too. Like the baseball reference above. Heck, if you're not paying attention, you can get beaned at Cheney Stadium. At one point, I saw one of the workers kicking a square chunk of metal from the dirt out of the way. If that got caught up in a spinning tire, it could have become a projectile It makes me sick to think what that family is going through. I can't find the link right now, but the Trib had a story on monster truck accidents going back to the early 90's While rare, they were tragic, and most involved out-of-control trucks. I've considered both sides of whether or not they should cancel the shows. But I doubt I will go to one again.

by marumaruyopparai on 1/18/2009 @ 1:36pm
Some spectators told the TV station they had to throw cups off the stands to get the attention of medics. The show continued after the two were hurt, and many spectators left.

"They just kept going," Moe said. "We grabbed our kids and just bee-lined out of there."

Laurie Deranleau, 32, a nurse from Westport, told The News Tribune, "Everybody sitting around thought they should have dropped the show and gave the family some respect. Nobody was paying attention to the show."

"All of us at Feld Motor Sports are saddened by the accident that occurred last night at the Monster Jam Show in Tacoma when two of our customers were seriously injured," the Aurora, Ill., company said in a statement Saturday to the AP. "Feld Motor Sports is looking into this tragic accident as the safety of all our customers is our top priority and this type of incident has never happened before in the history of Monster Jam events."

All quotes that I lifted from this AP article I lifted from a Charter Cable news feed.

Considering that, allegedly, nothing like this has ever occurred before at one of these events explains at least in part why the response was so poor, because it's hard to adequately prepare in advance for an accident that's never occurred before. However, you would think that being prepared for an accident just like this would be a no brainer when you have large heavy mechanical beasts with dangerous detachable appendages flying through the air and careening into the ground and stationary objects. Like Fredo mentions, heavy objects flying into the stands at the peril of on-lookers occurs at just about every type of sporting event in which heavy things fly through the air at high velocities.

Any legal fall-out from this event is going to come from the poverty of the response, I imagine. At the very least they could have suspended activity to review their ability to respond to an event like this should it happen again. I guess Feld feels the onus lies on the spectator to determine whether it's worth risking life or limb or child to see the rest of the show. Some people made that choice and left, which I think was probably the smart thing to do.

Addressing the quote by Feld Motor Sports at the top of my comment, if the safety of all our customers is indeed their top priority, why the hell didn't they stop the show to review their ability to respond to an emergency? People were throwing cups out of the stands apparently just to get the attention of medics to let them know that a child was was bleeding to death. That's a problem.

by NineInchNachos on 1/18/2009 @ 1:52pm

Hey I agree you're never going to get people to stay away from monster trucks... but is the Tacoma Dome the best venue? Kinda small isn't it? I went to the bacon bowl once and I never would think that you could fit monster trucks in there. I already hated the Tacoma Dome... this just makes me hate it even more. The city council meeting where they approved funds to buy fancy new curtains to make the dome more attractive to smaller events... seems like it could have been better spent buying kevlar mesh curtains.

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 2:10pm
People attending hockey and baseball games have a pretty good idea that something may come flying into the stands at anytime. People attending monster truck shows have a lower awareness, it seems to me, that a 9,000 pound truck or shrapnel-sized portions thereof will end up flying into the stands. I'm not impressed by the claim of a steller safety record. Like Angie said earlier, google the words "spectator killed". The promotors are well aware of the risks, the public not so much.

by Dave_L on 1/18/2009 @ 2:20pm
Monster truck injuries nothing new (AP)

by marumaruyopparai on 1/18/2009 @ 2:31pm

I was struck by the irony of the truck "Grave Digger" being involved in two of nine of those high profile violent incidents.

by scout on 1/18/2009 @ 2:40pm
Dave L.

You can provide your son with cheaper and safer alternatives.

It reminds me of the time I had a carload of my daughter's 15 and 16-year-old swim team friends that I was forever hauling around to meets and practice. In the course of our regular conversations about boys, school, boys, swimming, boys, learning to drive, I casually asked if any of the girls knew what a "donut" was.

"No", they chirped in unison.

I immediately pulled into an out-of-the-way empty parking lot and demonstrated....... to their squealing delight.

by Dave_L on 1/18/2009 @ 2:52pm
Ha - Cool! I will keep that in mind. Clearly (but to no surprise) you are a cooler and more adventursome mom than I am a dad. The only rear-wheel drive car I have left is not running yet. But I'll see if the Escort can do donughts in reverse. Just signed them up for another session of swim lessons today. Maybe I'll have it running by the time they turn 15.
The eye-catching Grave Digger still seems hugely popular in terms of fan loyalty and mechandising.
Looks like the "Natural High" truck's website is now off-line.
As for the original question, I can't recall whether or not there have been deaths in the Tacoma Dome previously. But I do remember a young man was killed long ago when he fell while cleaning the roof.

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 4:03pm
"Natural High" is being renamed in observance of it's new notoriety. The new name..."lil' Grave Digger". Spectators will be dying to see it.

by jenyum on 1/19/2009 @ 10:52am
I guess I can understand not stopping that show, given the difficulty of stopping in the middle of everything, with that many people in the dome. But to not even cancel the next show and take a day to make safety checks and evaluate the suitability of the dome for these events is inexcusable.

How much is one child's life worth? Not the cost of a dome full of Monster Truck Show tickets, apparently.

It is sick. And it makes Tacoma look crappy. And it should.

by fredo on 1/19/2009 @ 10:59am
Jen-Yes, agreed. Where was our Mayor?

by ixia on 1/19/2009 @ 12:55pm
Our Mayor has ceremonial functions only. He can not stop the Monster Trucks!

by fredo on 1/19/2009 @ 6:36pm
A six year old was killed in a city building. Quite frankly, I expected a high elected official to proclaim condolences to the family. This would be considered a common courtesy.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/19/2009 @ 11:33pm
Yet again Tacoma is a mockery all over the country. I believe that this story has appeared in virtually every newspaper in the country and a good many television broadcasts. Should the parents of the young boy that lost his life and the other victim file a law suit I can only imagine that the press coverage of Tacoma will continue. The fact that a "monster truck" did this damage only pours salt on the wounded reputation of Tacoma.

by NineInchNachos on 1/20/2009 @ 12:20am
maybe charles creso will mention it in one of his public comment speeches against the Tacoma Dome moneypit.

even so, monster trucks are the new pit bull.

by jenyum on 11/26/2009 @ 8:31pm
Monster truck show returning to Tacoma, (the same week as last year) according to KING, no special safety requests from the city.

by NineInchNachos on 11/27/2009 @ 9:27am

by fredo on 11/27/2009 @ 11:34am
Mayor Strickland could circle the arena before the Monster Truck Show driving the County Coroner's Service vehicle and waving to the crowd.

Why waste the opportunity to display her leadership skills?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 11/27/2009 @ 12:41pm
This is why Tacoma will never be better than she is already.

by ixia on 11/27/2009 @ 3:17pm
I can see that Fredo. Educational outreach so to speak.


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