Update: Death toll now 7 after drag racing crash at car show

POSTED: 11:55 a.m. EDT, June 17, 2007

SELMER, Tennessee (AP) — Three more people have died after a drag-racing car went out of control and careened into a crowd of spectators, raising the death toll to seven, state officials said Sunday.

The crash occurred Saturday night during an “exhibition burnout” — when a driver spins his tires to make them heat up and smoke — at the Cars for Kids charity event in Selmer, located about 80 miles east of Memphis.

Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Browning said the seven who died included a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old. At least eight people were taken to hospitals and several others had minor injuries, he said. (Watch authorities respond to the scene Video)

Amateur video of the crash, broadcast on WMC-TV in Memphis, showed the car’s engine revving loudly before the vehicle sped down a highway lined with spectators on both sides. After a few hundred feet, the smoking car skidded off the road.

There was a guard rail along at least part of the highway, but state officials could not immediately say if the spectators were standing behind the rail where the crash occurred.

The identities of the victims and the driver were not immediately released.

Mourners placed small votive candles at the crash site early Sunday

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