Morgan Harrod loves race cars, so celebrating his 13th birthday at the Gator Motorplex in Willis should have been the perfect experience. Instead, Morgan spent that night and the next several nights in the Children’s Memorial Hermann Intensive Care Unit after being struck by a race car at the track.
It was a Thursday evening. Morgan’s mother, Jennifer, had bought “pit passes,” so Morgan could see NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne, who was signing autographs in the pit area. Morgan and his mom were walking up to fence outside the track, along with dozens of other spectators, when the #87 race car of Aaron Reutzel suddenly came into their path, striking Morgan and leaving Jennifer in a panic.
“I was screaming. I was crying. Honestly, I don’t know if he lost consciousness for a few minutes or if he was in shock and his eyes were closed. I didn’t know he was alive. I thought he was gone,” Jennifer told ABC 13 Eyewitness News.
The driver didn’t stop to check on Morgan, much to the surprise of one witness.
“The part I have a problem with is that the gentleman did not get out of the car and try to help the kid that he hit,” Richard Vetter said to Eyewitness News.
Ruetzel’s “hit and run” was only one of several oversights that evening. The pit road was poorly lit, which made the jet-black #87 car hard to see. Also, there were no crowd-control measures implemented by Gator Motorplex or World of Outlaws Racing to protect spectators or warn them that race cars were approaching. When guests hurried to report the incident to on-site paramedics, the ambulance was unoccupied. Patrons turned on the lights and sirens of the ambulance to summon help.
Morgan suffered a head wound that required 22 staples to close. The extent of his injuries is undetermined, but he remains in the hospital. His family hopes for a full recovery, but severe head injuries often have long-lasting consequences.
Morgan Harrod and his family were victims of a series of negligent actions, and they should not have to shoulder the extraordinary costs they now face. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law’s Steve Waldman is handling the case and we will do everything in our power to make sure that this family is not burdened by any more hardship than they have already suffered.
Morgan’s family is touched by the support offered by friends, family members, and others who understand how traumatic a severe injury to a child is to an entire family. We hope that by holding the driver, track, and sponsoring race organization accountable for their failure to secure the safety of guests, we can make sure future race fans are safe, and Morgan and his family have what they need to cope with the challenges they are facing as a result of Morgan’s injury.
If you would like to speak to Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, fill out our online form or call us at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally at (713) 973-8888.