Victim's dad says go-kart track needs more safety personnel - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Victim's dad says go-kart track needs more safety personnel

By Al Pefley - bio | email

JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - The father of a little boy, severely burned in a go-kart crash Monday, believes the raceway did not have enough safety personnel on hand.

Devin Olmstead, 9, of Pompano Beach  is now in a Miami burn unit in critical condition.

"He was burned really bad. Still is. Might not have use of his hands or anything any more," said Donald Olmstead, Devin's father, as he fought back tears. 

The father of Devin Olmstead can't help but get choked up.

His little boy was hurt in a go-kart crash at Palm Beach International Raceway Monday near Jupiter, driving his own go-kart.  The facility also rents go-karts, but Devin was driving his own kart.

And the dad says in his view, the track didn't have enough safety people out on the go-kart track to respond in case a go-kart flipped, which is what happened to the kart his 9 year old son was driving.

"You rely on people to help you. You're 90 pounds, the go-kart is 160 pounds. You can't overcome that when it's on top of you.  A man jumped from the, he jumped the fence because nobody was there to help him," Olmstead said. 

Devin's dad says he himself has raced go-karts for a long, long time.

And says most go-kart tracks that he's seen have plenty of marshals stationed around the track in case of a problem.

"We've raced for years. Years of go-kart racing. And every time there's people to help pick the go-karts up.  'Cause go-karts flip over," Olmstead explained. 

In addition he says, there was a motorcycle race going on at the same time Monday at Palm Beach International Raceway, while other people including his son were riding go-karts on a different race course. 

"They had more than one accident at the track. The motorcycles were, some guys wrecked on motorcycles at the same time. So there was no paramedics to even assist my son. I mean they should have paramedics for the go-karts. They should have paramedics for the motorcycle people, you know.  They don't,"  Olmstead said. 

"Our response to that is we felt very confident and comfortable with the number of people that we had around the track. We immediately got to the incident as quickly as possible," said Howard Wishner, chief communications/marketing officer at Palm Beach International Raceway.

He said they have no plans to add additional safety personnel.

Meanwhile,  Patty Davis, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Bethesda, Maryland,  says they have launched an investigation into Monday's go-kart crash.

She said they will be looking into whether the kart meets safety standards, whether it was defective in some way, and if it had ever been recalled.

They will be working with local authorities to determine what happened.

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