CONCORD, N.C. - At least 50 people were injured Saturday night after a concrete walkway spanning a four-lane highway in front of Lowe's Motor Speedway collapsed as fans left a NASCAR race.
About 30 feet of the 15-foot-high walkway fell onto U.S. 29 at about 11:15 p.m.. Some 75 people were on the bridge, which connects the track to a parking lot, when it snapped at the center.
Twelve of the injured were airlifted to a hospital in Charlotte, said Charlotte Fire Department Captain Rob Brifley. At least two had life-threatening injuries. He said there were no fatalities at the scene.
The rest of the injured were taken by ambulance to Concord and Charlotte hospitals, Brifley said.
''We don't know the conditions of all the people injured,'' track president H.A. ''Humpy'' Wheeler said. ''There were some injured in a minor way and we had some obviously injured in a major way but we don't know the total extent of that.''
Witnesses said bodies were lying on the ground and people were helping emergency workers attend to the injured.
''Just a lot of people went down and some of them were elderly so you don't know how bad it is,'' said Ed Walker of Columbia, S.C., who said he crossed over the bridge and heard it snap. ''People were hollering. The first reaction was to account for everybody you were with.''
The accident occurred at about the same time Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured the victory in The Winston, which drew 180,000 spectators.
Wheeler said the bridge was built around 1995 to better facilitate the traffic flow at the speedway.
''All we can do right now is pray,'' Wheeler said.