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Raceway crash probe looking at steering wheel
Mechanical issues at forefront
Authorities are looking into witness reports of a faulty steering wheel as the cause of Saturday's fatal race car accident at the Marysville Raceway Park, the Yuba County Sheriff's Department said Monday.
Witnesses have reported that the detachable steering wheel came off 17-year-old Chase Johnson's race car moments before it careened off the track and killed two people, Undersheriff Jerry Read said. The claims are just one aspect of an ongoing investigation into the cause of the accident.
"It's shaping up to look like a mechanical failure, but there's still work to be done," Read told The Associated Press.
Marcus Johnson, 14, of Santa Rosa died at Rideout Memorial Hospital shortly after the crash and Dale Wondergem, 68, of Grass Valley was pronounced dead at the scene.
Autopsies are scheduled for today, Read said.
Rob Johnson, Marcus's father, told KTVU-TV in Oakland that Chase said the wheel came off the steering column as he headed into a corner at about 90 mph.
"He had no control of the car," Johnson said. "I don't know how it could come off. He always double-checked it just to make sure it was down tight. He wasn't careless."
Marysville Raceway Park will remain open in spite of the accident, announcer Bob Burbach said in an email, and will host The Great Taxi Cab Open on Saturday.