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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 00:55 GMT
Eight die in illegal US road race
Police at the scene after a car veered into a crowd at an illegal drag race in Accokeek, Maryland, US
Bodies were scattered along a 183m stretch of road, police said

Eight people were killed when a car hit a crowd gathered at an illegal street race in the United States.

The crash happened at about 0340 (0840 GMT) on Route 210 just outside Accokeek in Maryland - about 20 miles (32km) from Washington DC.

At least six people were injured, police said. Their conditions were not immediately known.

"It's probably one of the worst scenes I've seen," said Prince George's County Police Cpl Clinton Copeland.

A passing white sedan ploughed into the crowd of spectators who had spilled onto the road.

It was followed by a tractor-trailer that may also have hit bystanders as it tried to avoid the crash, he said.

Map

Witnesses told the Associated Press news agency that a crowd of about 50 people had just watched two cars speed past in the race.

Police said the darkness and the smoke coming from the cars meant the approaching driver probably could not see the crowd on the road.

Seven people were pronounced dead at the scene, and an eighth later died in hospital.

"There were just bodies everywhere; it was horrible," Crystal Gaines, 27, told AP.

Her father was among the dead. "He wasn't breathing, he wasn't moving," she said. "His body was in pieces."

Victims' bodies were scattered along a 183-metre (200-yard) stretch of road, police said.

The driver of the sedan was not seriously hurt and has been interviewed but no charges were pending, Cpl Copeland said.



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