LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Friday its staff failed to follow established procedures for permitting and monitoring an off-road race in which eight spectators, including a Las Vegas woman, were killed in the Mojave Desert.
An internal review found BLM staff in the Barstow, Calif., field office did not hold a pre-race consultation with race promoters.
Furthermore, a ranger assigned to patrol the area did not monitor the Aug. 14 event in which a competing truck plowed into spectators crowded along the course.
The review does not specify who was responsible for permitting the event or whether that person faced any repercussion for not following agency procedures.
BLM Director Bob Abbey said the agency has taken steps to improve oversight of recreational events. He said he also instructed staff at all field offices to follow procedures aimed at ensuring safety at those events.
“My clear directive is: if our field offices cannot fulfill or complete all the required steps in authorizing this event, then no permit will be issued,” Abbey said in a statement.
The crash claimed the lives of eight people who were in a crowd of spectators standing perilously close to the off-road vehicles in the race. Some spectators later told news outlets that the vehicles were close enough to touch.
Twenty-year-old Danica Frantzich of Las Vegas was one of those killed in the crash. Her younger sister was believed to have been injured in the crash, too.
Frantzich was a 2008 Shadow Ridge High School graduate. Friends said she was an avid fan of off-roading and had a Jeep Grand Cherokee with oversized tires.
The BLM’s inquiry also found that the problems were not limited to the August race. Adherence to the rules was inconsistent throughout the five field offices that cover the 11 million-acre California desert.
Among the report’s recommendations is providing adequate ranger and recreation staffing at all events and requiring companies to compensate the BLM for processing and administering permits that take up more than 50 hours of staff time.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Lawrence Mower contributed to this report.YouTube video of off-road race crash