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Race car in charity parade loses control, killing 4

SELMER, Tenn. – A drag-racing vehicle lost control during a parade and spun into a crowd of bystanders on Saturday night, killing four adults and injuring up to 15 people, authorities said.

Investigators were trying to determine what caused the vehicle to careen into the crowd at the Cars for Kids charity event in Selmer, located about 80 miles east of Memphis.

Scott Henley, of Selmer, witnessed the accident and said the vehicle started burning off its tires, then began to fishtail and slammed into a light pole before spinning around into the audience.

Selmer Police Chief Neal Burks said, “Bodies were flying into the air when it happened.”

Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Browning said at least eight people were taken to three hospitals.

The identities of the victims and the driver were not immediately known after the accident. Nor was the driver’s condition.

Browning said the vehicle has been described as a drag racing car, but he did not have more details yet about the vehicle.

McNairy County sheriff’s officials and Selmer police began to close down the festival shortly after the accident. About 40,000 to 60,000 people were expected to attend the weekend event.

Cars for Kids holds several events throughout the nation and raises close to $200,000 a year for charities that help children in need, according to the charity’s Web site.

Cars for Kids was formed in 1990, two years after founder Larry Price’s son, Chad, suffered a severe head injury in a bicycle accident.

Price could not be reached for comment on Saturday night.