Published January 13, 2015
A state prosecutor said Tuesday a dragster driver charged in the deaths of six spectators when he lost control of his vehicle will accept a plea deal.
District Attorney General Michael Dunavant told The Associated Press that Troy Critchley is scheduled to accept the deal at a hearing Thursday. A court official also confirmed the hearing. Details of the deal were not immediately revealed, and a message left for Critchley's attorney was not returned.
Critchley, an Australian professional driver living in Texas, is charged with six counts of reckless vehicular homicide and 22 counts of aggravated assault in last year's crash at the Cars for Kids festival in Selmer, about 80 miles east of Memphis.
The dragster was being put through tire-burning stunts on an open city street when it spun into a crowd of unprotected spectators. Besides the six young people killed, more than two dozen other spectators were hurt, many seriously.
No one else has been charged, but a review of a Highway Patrol investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Victims or their families have filed lawsuits against several defendants, including Critchley, Cars for Kids and the city of Selmer, accusing them of recklessness.
Cars for Kids Southern Style Inc., a charity that raises money for children's hospitals, puts on car shows across the South, with its crowning event each year in Selmer.
In May, Selmer officials denied a parade permit to Cars for Kids, but charity founder Larry Price said the group will still hold its annual Selmer fundraiser.
Price said activities will include a carnival and a lawn and garden tractor pull.
After last year's accident, city officials approved new rules for issuing parade permits, including a requirement the mayor, police chief and fire chief must sign off on them.
Vice Mayor Paul Simpson said this year's parade permit was denied because Fire Chief David Dillingham would not sign off on it.
Cars for Kids raised just under $165,000 last year, state records show. About $92,000 went to charitable causes with about $63,000 spent on management and operations.