Shortly after a severe thunderstorm forced an early end to yesterdays NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400, lightning strikes killed one fan and injured nine others in the parking lot at Pocono Raceway.
According to Monroe County Coroner Robert Allen, Brian Zimmerman, 41, a father of two from Moosic, a suburb of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was pronounced dead by Dr. Peter Favrini, the emergency room director at Pocono Medical Center in nearby Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
A press release just issued by Pocono Raceway, CEO Brandon Igdalsky said: As reported yesterday, a long time member of our Pocono Raceway family, a spectator has passed away following a lightning strike. According to Monroe County Coroner Robert Allen the name of the deceased is 41-year-old Moosic, Pennsylvania resident Brian Zimmerman Additionally; nine other individuals were transferred to local hospitals as a result of two separate lightning strikes.
On behalf of the entire staff here at Pocono Raceway, we are deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic events. As mentioned, our fans are like family to us and we express our deepest condolences to the individuals and families involved, especially Mr. Zimmerman’s.
We work in conjunction with NASCAR regarding safety of fans, teams and other attendees throughout the course of our race weekends. Additionally, we are in constant communication with local and national agencies regarding weather conditions and emergency services.
At approximately 5:01 p.m. Eastern Time, the first lightning strike occurred on property inside our Grandstand Parking area, located near Gate 5A. A Pocono Raceway Grandstand Fire unit was stationed in the vicinity and witnessed the actual strike. The response was immediate as the unit reported the incident to our control tower and advised spectators were injured. CPR was started immediately to Mr. Zimmerman by a friend on the scene.
Within a matter of 3 minutes, medical personnel and additional emergency services reported on the scene and took control of treatment to individuals. EMT responders were approached by additional individuals who reported symptoms related to the lightning strike. Those affected were taken to the Raceway Medical Centers, where they were examined and transported to local area hospitals for treatment and further evaluation. A total of nine individuals were treated as a result of the initial lightning strike.
At approximately 6:35 p.m. Eastern Time, the control tower was notified of a second possible lightning strike in the vicinity near Gate 3. The individual was immediately transported to Pocono Raceway’s Infield Medical Center where they were initially treated for minor injuries before being transported to Pocono Medical Center in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania for further evaluation.
As stated last night at 7:40 p.m. Eastern Time, Mr. Zimmerman was confirmed as deceased. Additional information regarding the other nine individuals involved was not yet available.
At this point in time, the one individual that was in critical condition has now been upgraded to stable. Some have been treated and released. Others involved are pending release as early as today and all are in good spirits. The safety of all guests to Pocono Raceway is of the utmost importance to our entire staff. This tragic event is at the forefront of all of our thoughts and prayers. We will learn from the incident and continue to implement strategies to help ensure the safety of fans and all attendees at future events at Pocono Raceway.
We are in the process up establishing a Memorial Fund is for victims of this incident. More information will be released a soon as possible.
Sprint Cup drivers, including race winner Jeff Gordon and Dodge driver Brad Keselowski, expressed their dismay and urged that all efforts be made to support the families impacted by the tragedy.