WEST LEBANON, N.Y. -- A Castleton man is dead after participating in an event at Lebanon Valley Speedway Tuesday night. Shawn Rivers was killed while racing in the 'Eve of Destruction' demolition derby event.
"Something like that happens, it really opens your eyes to what could happen in a motorsport," said National Racing Champion Matt Pappa.
According to the Lebanon Valley Speedway website, the 'Eve of Destruction' features rollover madness, extreme stunts, carnage and more.
"As a result of that collision the motor home overturned, landed on its roof and the vehicle collapsed, causing Mr. Rivers to become trapped and subsequently suffered fatal collisions as a result of that injury," said New York State Police Captain Michael Jankowiak.
State police say during the 'Eve of Destruction,' 43-year-old Shawn Rivers was driving a recreational vehicle around the track, when the goal of the event was accomplished, the chase cars "took out" the RV, but instead of an entertaining end, Rivers was killed.
"We are going to be discussing this matter with the district attorney Paul Czajka, but at this time there does not appear to be any criminal liability as a result of this accident," said Jankowiak.
Unlike regular dirt track racing, which is highly regulated and each car is inspected prior to every race, the 'Eve of Destruction' is more entertainment than competition and therefore does not fall under any regulatory agency.
"It's a little bit different, I think people cut safety corners," said Pappa.
National racing champion and fellow racer at Lebanon Valley Matt Pappa says when he steps on the track -- safety is the foremost priority for all racers, when it's an event like 'Eve of Destruction,' entertainment can take precedence.
"It's more about taking cars, roll cage them if you can get the budget to roll cage them, and run it and have fun," Pappa said.
State police say Rivers did not have a roll cage in the modified RV he was driving when he was killed. Track owners did not want to go on camera, but said they offer condolences to Rivers' family. Troopers say they will be speaking to track owners to make sure Rivers understood the risks he was taking Tuesday night.
"As part of the investigation, we will collect paperwork and conduct the necessary interviews with the operators of the track to find out what was actually involved and make sure everybody knew what they were getting into when they engaged in these activities," said Jankowiak.
Matt says he hopes if the 'Eve of Destruction' continues next year, he hopes more safety measures are included.
"There should be a little bit of a pre-race inspection, a safety aspect, something like that," Pappa said.