A Riverside man pushed two children out of the way of a careening truck, but was among the seven people killed at an off-road vehicle race at a desert dry lake in San Bernardino County, his friend said today.
Andrew Therrin, 22, was pronounced dead at the scene, the San Bernardino County coroner said at midmorning. He was killed just after he spotted the airborne truck Saturday evening at the “California 200” off-road race, an event being legally held at a state park at a dry lake in the California desert north of Big Bear.
Therrin’s last act was to shove two children, including his daughter, to safety, said Derek Cox. He told a freelance video crew at the dry lake that he saw the crash that claimed Therrin and at least six other people.
“I owe my son’s life, as well as many others including his daughter, who was inches away from him,” a distraught Cox said of his friend.
Two men from Escondido — Brian Wolfin, 27, and Anthony Sanchez, 23 — were pronounced dead at the scene. A third Escondido man, Aaron Farkas, 25, died at Loma Linda University Medical Center three hours after the crash.
Also identified as killed at the scene were Danica Frantzich, 20, of Las Vegas; Zachary Freeman, 24, of Fillmore; and Dustin Malson, 24, of Ventura.
Original reports from the chaotic scene indicated that eight persons were killed and 20 injured in the Saturday twilight crash. But the San Bernardino County sheriff and coroner said only seven fatalities have been confirmed.
The crash occurred when spectators clustered along an off-road vehicle race were crushed when a pickup truck went airborne and rolled. The disaster at the “California 200” race was inside the Johnson Valley Off Highway Vehicle Park, a state-run recreation area about 60 miles northeast of Riverside.