Critchley 'not holding up real well' after crash that killed six

Updated: June 20, 2007, 8:34 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A drag racer whose car crashed into a crowd of spectators is devastated by the deaths of six people during a charity parade, his ex-wife said Wednesday.

"He's not holding up real well," said Paige Jackson Critchley, who lives in Waterford, Va., about 40 miles northwest of Washington. "He's a good person. I'm sure he's terribly devastated by the accident."

Jackson Critchley married the Australian-born pro drag racer Troy Warren Critchley in 1998, and they lived in Virginia during the marriage, which lasted only a few years. She said she had spoken with him since the accident but would not reveal if he was still in Tennessee.

Troy Critchley has not spoken publicly since the wreck, and repeated calls to Critchley's racing team spokesman were not returned. No one answered the door at his suburban Dallas home on Tuesday.

His father, Warren Critchley, who lives in Brisbane, Australia, said he had not spoken to his son since the accident.

Troy Critchley lost control of his drag-racing car Saturday while performing a "burnout exhibition" -- spinning the car's back tires to send up clouds of smoke -- at a Cars for Kids charity event in Selmer, a small town about 80 miles east of Memphis.

Six spectators, ages 15 to 22, died, and at least 23 others were injured when his car careened into the crowd. There were no protective barriers on either side of the city street lined with hundreds of spectators.

State authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash, and no criminal charges had been filed. Critchley tested negative for drugs and alcohol, Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Browning said Wednesday.

District attorney general Mike Dunavant said that Critchley gave a routine blood sample after the crash, which is being tested for drugs and alcohol. The results have not yet been made available.

Court documents from Loudoun County, Va., show that Critchley pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in April 2000. He lost his driver's license for a year and paid $381 in fines and court costs.

Critchley's Web site said he began his career in an engine-building shop in Brisbane in 1986 and then raced on the Australian circuit in the '90s. He moved to Virginia in 1998 and then to Michigan in 2001, and he began racing in Texas in 2002.

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen said he thinks the investigation will prompt changes in what's permitted while racing on the state's streets.

"I'm sure there will be lots of finger-pointing and lots of recriminations in the weeks ahead, but I hope we'll come out of this with a better set of standards about how these things are handled in the future," he said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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