Runaway cart victim: 'It happened so fast'


by Associated Press & staff & staff

Posted on December 19, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 19 at 3:38 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Seven people are still nursing injuries after a runaway electric car plowed into them following a high school football game Saturday night.

The incident happened after Spring Dekaney beat Cibolo Steele, 34-14, to win the Texas 5A Division II football title at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

The unmanned cart toppled Spring Dekaney coach Willie Amendola, who was being interviewed near the Cowboys midfield star logo with several other people clustered near him moments after the game.

"I didn’t know what was going on, but I felt it," said a stunned Amendola.

Broadcast footage showed Amendola falling backwards into the cart's passenger seat as it continued rolling. He appeared to try in vain to gain control of the cart, spinning the steering wheel with his left hand, before rolling out onto the artificial turf. As he tumbled out, a pursuing field worker hopped aboard and stopped the cart quickly.

"There was no driver, says Amendola. "I ended up being the driver but I couldn’t reach the pedals and we were headed towards the goal post. I steered it out of the way of the guy on the ground and then I jumped out"

After the cart hit the coach, it slammed into a group of reporters standing around him. King Arthur Prayther, who runs a small Houston-area newspaper, was standing next to the winning coach. The cart slammed into Prayther’s left leg.

"It happened so fast, it was like you batting your eyes," Prayther said. He wasn’t badly hurt, but he said one of his colleagues, Jerry Woodley, suffered "massive bruising" on his leg, and was taken to nearby Arlington Memorial Hospital as a precaution.

Seven people were hurt in all, but none seriously.

"I’m just disappointed because I can’t believe it went 52 yards before it hit us, and nobody bothered to, at least, holler to get out of the way," Prayter said.

Stadium workers were picking up fluorescent orange sideline yard markers and pylons in one of the end zones after the game when the cart unexpectedly took off. It appeared one of the pylons might have fallen onto the cart's gas padel.

After Amendola rolled out of the car, a stadium worker jumped on board and stopped it.

Amendola said he was still in a lot of pain on Sunday and planned to see a doctor Monday.