Just hours after a camera cable snapped and fell into the stands during the 2013 Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, fan Pat Carpenter told WBTV that the cable wrapped around his arm and yanked it 180 degrees.
Now less than two years later, Carpenter has filed a lawsuit against Speedway Motorsports, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Fox Sports Productions, citing permanent injuries he has suffered as a result of the cable breaking.
Ten fans were hurt Sunday, May 27, when a fiber cable holding a Fox network camera broke during the race. According to a statement from CMS, seven were treated for minor injuries and released. Three others were taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. They were released early on the following morning.
The cable also damaged several cars, which caused the red flag to drop during the 124th lap. Teams were given 15 minutes to make repairs.
Eddie Gonzalos, 18, told WBTV he was in the middle of taking a photo of himself with the track behind him when the cable fell. He immediately started capturing video on his phone.
"The camera was right over us…in the D section...two rows back from the gate…and something snapped on it," Gonzalos' father Edward Gonzalos said.
"The wires came down...and I thought I gotta take a video of that…everyone was trying to warn everyone else about it…and I was hoping no cars flipped or anything…it was pretty intense," Eddie Gonzalos said.
"The cable went all across about a hundred feet behind us into the crowds …the cars came through and I was like 'oh wow, I hope it doesn't wrap around the tires.' My wife did see some people hit the stands, lay down flat," the elder Gonzalos added.
Carpenter's lawsuit, filed in Asheboro at the Randolph County Courthouse, seeks a jury trial and more than $10,000 in damages.
Carpenter's attorney, Michael Lewis of Winston-Salem, told WBTV that Carpenter, 65, attended the race because his son stopped by his home on the day of the race and asked him to go. Carpenter had been caring for his wife who had recently died after a long battle with cancer.
WEB EXTRA: Read the full lawsuit here
"You don't really expect to go to a race and have a wire fall out of the sky when you're in the stands," Lewis said.
The attorney added that the purpose of the lawsuit was to get recognition of the harm that was done to Carpenter from those responsible.
The lawsuit claims that CMS and Fox were negligent in not better protecting the spectators from the overhead camera and the cable, saying in the suit that "using 2,900 feet of cable to suspend the CAMCAT camera system at a height of 45 feet to 140 feet over the more than 140,000 spectators at the Speedway watching the Race, with cars traveling at speeds of more than 200 MPH on the track, is an inherently dangerous activity."
WBTV contacted Charlotte Motor Speedway and Fox Sports about the lawsuit. Both parties declined to comment.