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PD: Mechanical failure not the cause of fatal mud bog crash

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- New details emerge about the investigation into a deadly mud bog racing accident that took the life of a West Olive, Michigan, man during a race Saturday night at the Sod Buster Mud Bog.

Police are trying to piece together what caused Steve DeLeeuw, 48, to lose control and land upside down on a concrete barrier. Now, crash investigators say they have ruled out any kind of mechanical malfunction.


This tragedy has brought up a lot of questions about safety procedures, but for investigators it is hard to say what improvements can be made to keep drivers safer without knowing exactly what caused the crash.


Spectator video caught the final seconds leading up to the crash. In less than two seconds, DeLeeuw sped down the 100 foot track at 72 mph. DeLeeuw shut off the engine to his dragster and cruised through the finish line, but then the 48-year-old lost control, rolled and landed upside down on a concrete barrier.


Sgt. Gene Eyster, with the South Bend Police Department, is investigating the crash.


Eyster said they have been working around the clock to determine what caused DeLeeuw to lose control of the dragster. Investigators said DeLeeuw's autopsy came back Monday and revealed he suffered blunt force trauma to the body.


According to Eyster, DeLeeuw suffered multiple non-survivable injuries, that most likely killed him instantly. Eyster said despite what bystanders said about emergency crews taking too long, the autopsy showed that Deleeuw could not have survived his injuries.


Police said they are trying to find a cause in order to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again. Eyster said he hopes to change or improve the safety procedures already in place.


The first thing Eyster said will be addressed is the fact that no ambulance or emergency crews were on site during the races. It is something investigators hope to have changed for future events.



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