By Linda Kor
An unmanned demolition derby car ran rampant at the Navajo County Fair following the derby held last Thursday evening, injuring one person and damaging nearby vehicles.
According to Holbrook Police Chief Mark Jackson, the vehicle had been towed out of the arena following the derby and left next to a truck in the adjacent lot where drivers and pit crews were still removing vehicles following the derby. Holbrook resident Rodney Stump, 48, who was a member of one of the pit crews, reportedly reconnected the battery cable to the vehicle and pressed the ignition switch while leaning in through the window. According to Jackson, the vehicle had been left in drive with the throttle open after a collision in the derby disabled it, so when it was started it jumped forward, pinning Stump between the vehicle and the truck it was parked next to, and pulling him along as it moved.
The car reportedly continued forward for at least another 50 feet, coming to rest after striking four other vehicles, one of which knocked someone to the ground. Stump was the only person injured. He was transported to Little Colorado Medical Center in Winslow for treatment and was released by the following day.
Two years ago Jackson informed the fair board that there would no longer be alcohol or individuals other than the drivers and pit crew allowed in the lot during the demolition derby for safety reasons. Prior to enforcing that rule, the lot would fill up with family members, friends and children in support of the derby drivers.
“It could have been a lot worse if that had not been enforced. We were fortunate that no one else was hurt,” stated Jackson.