Two spectators were transported to a local hospital Sunday with non-life-threatening injuries after a frightening crash at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Two cars collided, sending one airborne into the retaining fence as fans scrambled for safety.
It happened just before the midway point of a 100-lap race. Videographer Tom DiMaggio was among the witnesses who describes it as, “spectacularly scary.”
DiMaggio has been creating videos at Waterford Speedbowl for over a decade. That includes onboard cameras in several cars, including the one of Tim Jordan, whose car was the one that hit the catch fence.
“It got way up above the wall, into the fence, and then bounced down on the track,” said DiMaggio.
Bob Gada, 81, was one of the two people transported to a hospital. He suffered trauma to his left leg. Nothing was broken but he says he had lost feeling in his left foot temporarily.
“All I saw was two cars get together. And a pile of metal comes flying at me,” Gada said, describing the incident.
Gada was watching the race while standing outside the turn-3 fence. That’s when he says he saw Jordan’s car go airborne, hitting the fence, and breaking it apart. Jordan and the other driver involved, Glen Reen walked away without injury.
Gada, who was recovering at his Niantic home Monday, says he thinks fencing poles were what hit him.
“I don’t know if that’s the thing that got me or one of the vertical bars got me because one of the vertical bars was lying flat on the ground where I was laying,” said Gada.
As for Jordan’s car, it remained in the confines of the racing area, something DiMaggio credits to the fence absorbing the car’s energy as it got airborne.
“It definitely did its job. I know there were injuries, but it could’ve gone straight through (the fence) and into the pit area and been a lot worse,” DiMaggio said.
Gada, who had a son and two grandsons in the race Sunday, agrees.
“The car literally crossed the wall, got caught in that fence, and the fence spit it back out,” said Gada. “I think it did a hell of a job.”
Through a text exchange, Jordon says he’s still processing what happened and his thoughts are with everyone who was injured.
Waterford Speedbowl management declined to comment.