Car Plows Into Crowd At Madison Regatta - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Car Plows Into Crowd At Madison Regatta

(MADISON, Ind.) -- A car plowed into a screaming crowd Sunday at a speedboat race and then plunged into the Ohio River, injuring 11 people, police said.

The annual Madison Regatta was stopped following the accident shortly after 4 p.m.

There were no fatalities.

David Edds, of Owensboro, Ky., who is writing a book on hydroplane racing, caught the shrieking crowd and emergency sirens on tape.

"Suddenly, there was a loud noise and we turned and there was a car airborne, coming from the top of the bank," he said.

"I saw one young lady just frozen in her path, just standing at the water's edge and the car ran directly over the top of her. It was the most horrifying thing that I have ever seen."

The car drove through the crowd, hit a golf cart used by officials and stopped about 25 feet out in the Ohio River, police said.

The driver, Michael Bowen, 18, was slumped over the steering wheel as the vehicle approached a crowd barrier along the riverfront, police said. Bowen was unconscious when he was pulled from the water, Madison Police Chief Bob Wolf said during a news conference.

Police do not know what caused the accident, but said charges may be filed. A news conference was scheduled for Monday morning.

Bowen and a juvenile passenger were among the 11 injured, officials said. Four were airlifted to hospitals in Louisville, Ky., about 40 miles away.

Spectators rushed to help the injured, Edds said.

"There were fans that at first were shocked and then ran down to start helping folks and there was just a trail of folks laying on the ground in the path of where the car had gone," he said.

Seven people were treated at King's Daughter's Hospital in Madison and released, said spokeswoman Nadja Boone. Two others were transferred to University Hospital and another was taken to Kosair Children's Hospital, both in Louisville.

Another person was transported directly to University Hospital, Boone said.

Their conditions were not available Sunday evening.

Wolf said witnesses gave varying accounts of what happened.

The Regatta's main event, the Indiana Governor's Cup, was scheduled to begin at 4:50 p.m. but was canceled after the crash.

Madison is in southeast Indiana, midway between Louisville, Ky., and Cincinnati. The annual race for unlimited hydroplanes draws thousands of people to the riverside community of about 13,000 every Fourth of July weekend.

Dave Villwock, of Auburn, Wash., driving the U-1 Miss Elam Plus, was declared winner of the shortened regatta based on points.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)