Former Odessa Couple Witnesses Horrific Crash at Daytona International Speedway
By Devin Sanchez NewsWest 9
A couple, originally from Odessa, were at the Daytona Speedway and saw the accident unfold before their eyes. NewsWest 9 spoke with them on the phone on Saturday evening.
Dennis and Mary Riley said they were sitting in the 8th row.
"We were about 20 yards from impact," Dennis said. "We saw it. The car almost came into the stands, that would've been critical. "
Dennis said he is an avid racing fan but this was his first time at Daytona.
"This was the deal, my wife and daughters bought me these tickets as a Christmas present," he said.
When asked about what he remembers from the crash, he said it all happened quickly, but he focused on his wife's safety.
"It was a scary deal. It was kinda like it happened in slow motion. We saw the stuff coming and a lot of the debris flew over us, and like I said, we hit the deck," he said.
Riley said he was very impressed with the response from authorities.
"The police and EMS, they couldn't have been more professional," he exclaimed. "They responded immediately, obviously they practice for these kind of things."
However, he is surprised with the repairs of the track.
"Obviously the fence did its job, it caught the car and slid it down the fence. The gate obviously failed," he told NewsWest 9. "I'm surprised, I figured they'd be up all night trying to reinforce it or put more cables up or something."
Riley said the victims are in his thoughts and prayers.
"Racing fans are like a community, they're like a family. They don't want no one to get hurt," he said.