The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

March 18, 2013

Sheriff: California race crash victim was driver’s cousin

SAN FRANCISCO — A California raceway crash killed a race car owner and the young cousin of the teenage driver whose vehicle careened off the track before it struck the two victims, authorities said Sunday.

Dale Wondergem Jr., 68, and Marcus Johnson, 14, were in the pit area when they were hit about 6 p.m. Saturday at the Marysville Raceway Park, about 40 miles north of Sacramento, according to the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department. Wondergem, of Grass Valley, was pronounced dead at the scene, and Marcus Johnson, of Santa Rosa, was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at a hospital, authorities said.

Marcus Johnson was identified by authorities as the cousin of 17-year-old driver Chase Johnson, who was not injured in the collision. The younger victim was not an official member of his cousin’s crew. Authorities are investigating why he was in the pit area, according to Undersheriff Jerry Read said.

The Marysville raceway was hosting the California Sprint Car Civil War Series on the opening day of its season.

Wondergem owned one of the race cars at the track Saturday, but not the one involved in the crash, Read said.

The crash occurred when six or seven “winged sprint cars” were doing warm-up laps before the start of a scheduled race. Chase Johnson’s car left the track at an undetermined speed and hit Wondergem and Johnson before it tipped on its side, sheriff’s officials said.

The Yuba County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol are investigating the cause of the crash. Investigators will conduct autopsies on the victims today and Tuesday.

No one else was injured in the crash, and spectators were never in jeopardy, authorities said.

Don Johnson, who is the driver’s father and victim’s uncle, issued a statement Sunday on behalf of his family, thanking the racing community for their thoughts and prayers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Rebels release train with bodies from jet

    HRABOVE, Ukraine — Bowing to international pressure, pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane, four days after it plunged into rebel-held eastern ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Gaza death toll passes 560

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A high-level attempt by the U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state to end deadly Israel-Hamas fighting was off to a rough start Monday: Gaza’s Hamas rulers signaled they won’t agree to an unconditional ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Perry sending Guard troops to border

    AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry is deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border over the next month to combat what he said Monday were criminals exploiting a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally. ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Better weather to aid in fire fight

    SPOKANE, Wash. — Calmer winds and cooler temperatures were allowing firefighters to go on the offensive Monday against a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles of terrain in Washington State and is the largest in ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Gay, transgender workers gain U.S. bias protection

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday ordered employment protection for gay and transgender employees who work for the federal government or for companies holding federal contracts, telling advocates he embraced the “irrefutable ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Senate race zeroes in on metro Atlanta, north Ga.

    FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Neither Republican running in Georgia’s closely watched Senate race has a natural advantage in metro Atlanta, where the state’s most populous area and a ring of northern exurbs are serving as the key battleground ...

    July 21, 2014

  • How a flood of kids upset immigration debate

    WASHINGTON — The nation’s yearlong deliberation over immigration has taken a head-snapping detour....

    July 21, 2014

  • Kerry makes bid for cease-fire

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry is heading back to the Middle East as the Obama administration attempts to bolster regional efforts to reach a ceasefire and sharpens its criticism of Hamas in its conflict with Israel....

    July 21, 2014

  • U.S. outlines case against Russia on downed plane

    WASHINGTON — Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site....

    July 21, 2014

  • Top school may benefit health

    CHICAGO — Disadvantaged teens may get more than an academic boost by attending top-notch high schools — their health may also benefit, a study suggests. Risky health behavior including binge-drinking, unsafe sex and use of hard drugs was ...

    July 21, 2014