A North County man is receiving emotional support from friends and fans after a deadly crash.
Eight fans were killed Saturday at the California 200 race in the Mojave Desert when a truck went out of control after a jump and hit a crowd lining the course. Other fans were injured as well.
Driver Brett Sloppy posted a message on his Facebook page in the wee hours of Sunday morning describing what he's going through.
"So incredibly lost and devastated," Sloppy wrote. "My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and friends involved. Thank you to all my friends for sticking with me even through these tragic times. I love you all."
Dozens of Facebook posters wrote notes of support to the driver after he posted his message.
"Remember: It was an accident, and it was out of your control," John Moisant wrote. "You could not have done anything to change it, and you can not go back. You got to go forward and live strong for them. Love you, bro."
"I'm so sorry to hear about what happened, hon," posted Melanie Abongan. "That is every racer's worst nightmare, but you have to keep your head up and know that everything happens for a reason, and some things are beyond your control. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers, and you know you have friends to call anytime."
No one inside Sloppy's San Marcos home would talk about the accident on Monday, and one angry neighbor yelled at reporters to go away. However, other area residents expressed support for Sloppy and his family.
"Complete sympathy," said neighbor Harmony Lawton. "I mean, accidents happen. [The family] deserves our support. My heart out goes out to them. He deserves all the support he can get. Nothing was intentional. He needs to know the people in his community are behind him."
Another neighbor said Sloppy and his family are "awesome ... very nice, a close-knit family."
Jadette Lowery of San Marcos also offered her support to Sloppy, who lists himself on his Facebook page as an owner of Misery Motorsports in San Marcos, though a check of county records failed to turn up a business of that name.
"It's really, really sad that he had to go through this, and I hope he knows there are many, many of us out here who support him and know it wasn't his fault," Lowery said. "It's a race. What do you think races do? There were people standing there who shouldn't have been standing there."
Four San Diegans were among the eight people killed when Sloppy's pickup truck plowed into a crowd of onlookers. Spring Valley resident Michael Dickinson, 34; and Escondido residents Brian Wolfin, 27; Anthony Sanchez, 23; and Aaron Farkas, 25. died in the crash that occurred shortly after the twilight start of the California 200. The off-road truck sailed off a jump and hurtled into the crowd, pinning bodies beneath it and sending others flying into a chaotic cloud of dust in a crash.
Support for Sloppy was not confined to his neighborhood, nor to the dozens of people who offered support to the driver after his Facebook posting.
"Pray for Brett Sloppy and all the people involved in yesterday's accident," John Moisant wrote elsewhere on Facebook. "My heart goes out to all the family and friends of the deceased. Hopefully the press and other ignorant people don't try to point fingers at the wrong person/people. We need to learn and grow from this. Sloppy was powerless in this accident and was not at fault. Pray, pray, and keep praying."
"To all those who were hurt and killed in the SoCal desert race this weekend, my heart goes out to those families, and they will be in our prayers," Jeff Curnell also posted on Facebook. "To the driver, Brett Sloppy, I am on your side. You are not at fault. Crowd control was obviously nonexistent. All motor sports are dangerous for drivers and spectators. Again, prayers to all those affected."
The federal Bureau of Land Management announced Monday afternoon that it is conducting an official review of the accident. The agency is also cooperating with other law enforcement agencies in the investigation and reviewing all off-road vehicle events in the California desert for safety, according to BLM spokeswoman Jan Bedrosian.
Race promoter Mojave Desert Racing had a BLM permit for the event, which has raised questions about oversight and safety at the races on federal land.