Vegas car track: Medical event may have preceded fatal crash

LAS VEGAS (AP) A tourist-oriented auto racing track near Las Vegas suggests in court filings that a Canadian man driving a Lamborghini may have had a medical episode before a fiery crash that killed him and an instructor.

Attorneys for SpeedVegas filed the documents Tuesday ahead of a Thursday hearing on a request to close the track. They said investigations of the Feb. 12 crash were not complete and it would be ''absurd'' to suggest that the year-old facility is unsafe and that the course layout led to the wreck.

''There is evidence to suggest that the driver suffered a medical condition that may have caused the fatal crash,'' attorneys Richard Schonfeld and David Chesnoff wrote.

Chesnoff said Wednesday that the document speaks for itself. It says a friend of the Canadian man, Craig Sherwood, 37, of Thornhill, Ontario, told a course employee that Sherwood ''was known to have a medical condition that caused seizures.'' The filing did not include a statement from the friend, Andrew Ipekian.

Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said he can't release information about Sherwood's medical history.

A woman who answered the telephone at a real estate business where Sherwood worked declined to comment or to provide a contact for his family. Ipekian also works at the agency and did not respond to a message from The Associated Press.

The course's attorneys said there is no reason for a judge to close the $30 million track and put 85 people out of work. It also alleges that Francisco Durban, a driving instructor who sued last month to force the course to close for a redesign, offered to withdraw his complaint if SpeedVegas officials bought him a house.

Durban's attorneys, Dominic Gentile and Janiece Marshall, said they were reviewing the documents. They argued in the lawsuit that the 1+-mile road course several miles south of the Las Vegas Strip is dangerous and that Durban should not face dismissal from his job for refusing to sign a document attesting that it is safe.

Durban signed a non-compete agreement when he was hired before the track opened in April 2016. Gentile has said that prohibits Durban from working at another track for a year if he quits.

SpeedVegas said Durban is still employed, so he has no legal standing to sue. Documents said the company was willing to waive the non-compete agreement and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was the proper entity to decide the safety of the course, not a judge.

SpeedVegas closed for 12 days after Sherwood and driving instructor Gil Ben-Kely, 59, died when their orange Lamborghini slammed into a wall at a curve following a half-mile straightaway, authorities said. The coroner determined that Ben-Kely died in the crash, and Sherwood died in the fire.

The SpeedVegas filing says none of the other 30,000 guests who have driven some 100,000 laps on the course have been injured.

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