Settlement Lets Las Vegas Racetrack Stay Open After Deadly Crash

By KEN RITTER | April 10, 2017

A tourist-oriented auto racing track near Las Vegas, Nev., will stay open after agreeing to settle a lawsuit that questioned its safety in the wake of a fiery crash that killed a Canadian man driving a Lamborghini and his instructor, attorneys said Thursday.

Lawyers for SpeedVegas and a course employee told a judge that there was no longer a need for a court hearing on whether to grant the worker’s request to shut down the track for a redesign.

“We resolved the matter,” said attorney Dominic Gentile, who represents Francisco Durban, a driving instructor who sued last month. The lawsuit said Durban faced firing for refusing to sign a document attesting to the course’s safety.

“The track is open,” said David Chesnoff who represents course owner World Class Driving.

Both sides said the agreement was confidential and won’t be made public. The judge scheduled an April 19 hearing to make it final.

The 11/2-mile SpeedVegas course was closed for 12 days after an orange Lamborghini Aventador crashed and burst into flames, killing Craig Sherwood, 37, a real estate agent from Thornhill, Ontario, and driving instructor Gil Ben-Kely, 59.

Authorities said the car slammed into a wall and burned at a curve following a half-mile straightaway that SpeedVegas advertises as the longest at an amateur track without a speed limit.

Gentile said employees told his investigators that the course had five crashes in its first nine months of operations, including two prior wrecks at the turn immediately following the straightaway.

Attorneys for the business questioned in court filings whether Sherwood had a medical episode while driving. His medical history was not made part of the court record.

The state Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the cause of the crash at the track that opened a year ago several miles south of the Las Vegas Strip. It offers tourists the chance to drive high-performance cars such as Ferraris, Porsches and Mercedes faster than 150 mph.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.