Early crash doesn’t hamper Soap Box Derby

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Features Editor

March 31, 2001 10 PM

A crash on the first heat of the Second Annual Troy Soap Box Derby Saturday did little to shake the nerves or dampen the spirits of the other drivers.

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Jamie Collins, who was driving for Colonial Bank, lost control of his soap box racer near the bottom of the track.

An officer on the scene said the car jumped the curb and ran into a group of spectators. Two young girls were taken to Edge Regional Medical Center where they were treated and released.

An off-duty Troy police officer, Capt. Grady Wiggins, was also struck by the soap box car, but he was not injured.

The driver of the car was also not injured in the accident.

The accident delayed the derby for about an hour, but none of the drivers seemed to be shaken by the mishap.

Nicholas Mobley, a first time driver for Troy Bank & Trust Company, was one of the first to race after the accident.

Nicholas said he wasn’t worried. He was just ready to get his wheels rolling.

Most of the other drivers also indicated they were ready to make a run for the checkered flag.

Nancy Brooks, director of the derby, said all precautions are taken to prevent accidents, but unfortunately they do sometimes occur.

"The safety of our drivers and spectators is our main concern,’" she said. "We do everything possible to prevent accidents."

Bob Stewart, Jamie’s grandfather, said the accident occurred when Jamie’s helmet slipped down over his eyes and blocked his vision, causing him to get off course.

Before the race was allowed to restart, race officials brought all of the drivers, sponsors and parents together and directed them to make sure the helmets were on securely before each race.

Twelve cars were entered in each division, stock and super stock, and the competition was fast and furious. If any of the drivers, got a case of the nerves from the accident, it didn’t show.

The cars raced two at a time and most were neck-and-neck and some were too close call.

"Some of the cars reached speeds of 31 miles per hour," Brooks said. "The drivers weren’t hitting the brakes until they were past the finish line. Each race was a good race. Some of the winners won by a thousandth of a second."

Winners in each division will advance to the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio in July.