It’s the six-word phrase familiar to almost anyone who’s seen a television commercial for a car: “Professional driver on a closed course.”
This is true even if the auto in question is going slightly fast through a slalom course made of cones with nothing around. The message should be unmistakably simple: Don’t try this on public roads without appropriate training, you bonehead. If you want to drive your car in a dangerous manner that flouts the law, you’re risking your own life and the lives of others. Should you wish to do it, do it on a track and with some training.
Several people in Colorado Springs, Colorado didn’t follow that dictum and are now in the hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries.
According to KKTV-TV, five individuals were crushed when an SUV doing donuts in a strip-mall parking lot flipped on Saturday night. The woman behind the wheel, who was not injured seriously, now faces reckless driving charges.
Graphic video of the event surfaced online; one account on social media platform X called it a “street takeover,” a type of event where dozens, if not hundreds of people commandeer a street or a parking lot and keep other cars and law enforcement from halting illegal street racing or stunt driving.
However, several major sources that covered the event — including local outlet KKTV and automotive outlet Jalopnik — did not refer to it as such, with the latter attributing it to a “group [that] went to the shopping center’s parking lot planning to do donuts.”
The lot appears to be empty and, given that 911 received the first call from the incident at roughly 10:15 p.m., any stores in the vicinity would likely have been closed.
“At some point, they all got into the same car, which based on the news report appears to be a GMC Terrain, to do donuts together,” Jalopnik reported.
“The passengers then decided to hang out the SUV’s windows while the driver did donuts.”
As the outlet reported, that decision was “a terrible idea, but choosing a front-wheel-drive-based crossover makes it especially dumb.”
This, regrettably, ended precisely how one would have imagined it might:
WARNING: The following video contains graphic footage that some viewers will find offensive.
A Colorado Springs “street takeover” ends about as well as you would expect. pic.twitter.com/ayDSINXhmc
— Catch Up (@CatchUpFeed) December 18, 2023
In the video, individuals hanging out of both sides of the GMC Terrain can be shown receiving serious injuries. In the chaotic moments after the crash, a voice can be heard telling people not to flip the vehicle back over, as there were people crushed on the other side, too.
Police, KKTV reported, “found five people at the scene with life-threatening injuries. All were transported to the hospital, and there has been no update on their conditions from officials as of Monday morning.
The station also reported that “[t]he alleged driver of the SUV, who did not sustain serious injuries, was arrested for reckless driving.
“She has been identified by [Colorado Springs police] as Marisol Wentling. She remained in jail as of Sunday afternoon, but records Monday morning indicate she has since bonded out,” the station reported.
The general reaction to this was that the injured were low-wattage bulbs that had it coming:
I wonder if they’ll be “wildin” in their wheelchairs too 👨🦽💨 Vroom Vroom!
— Stav (@Stav1111111111) December 18, 2023
Darwin wins again…
— Unbiased Crime Report (@UnbiasedCrime) December 18, 2023
If Karma and Darwin got married and had kids.
— Big D (@JavelinaPopper) December 19, 2023
It’s worth noting that, if the events transpired the way police allege they did, the individual most responsible for any sort of “karmic” or evolutionary consequences for this accident — Marisol Wentling — went mostly uninjured. And yes, hanging out the window of an SUV doing donuts isn’t smart, but what do you say to someone who drives the SUV that has people hanging out of the window, donuts or no donuts?
The same social-media gawking culture that laughs at the pain and misery of the people who were hanging out of the window is the same culture that rewards people who pull this thing off successfully. Few people watch professional drivers on closed courses unless they have to sit through a commercial break. People playing the fool in a parking lot, however — now that they’ll click on, injury or not. Laud them if they pull it off, laugh at their misery if they don’t.
That said, the message should be clear: It’s not worth it. Period. This video is less than a minute long — and the people in it will be dealing with the consequences for the rest of their lives, assuming they pull through. Let it be a lesson, not a laugh. Leave the shenanigans to the professional drivers and their closed courses.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.