Saturday, December 01, 2012

UPDATED! BULLETIN! "Only Second Degree Burns!" SCORE Operations decides the Fatality and Injuries from BAJA 1000 are par for the race. BAJA 1000 totals up at least one death, numerous life-threatening incidents and Life-threatening burns to two, race organizer calls, "Only second-degree burns".

 UPDATED! October 17, 2013!

Dan Cauffiel burned in Baja 1000 2012 Friends Seek Financial Relief

 "Dan Cauffiel was severely burned in an accidental fire that erupted during an auto racing pit stop in Baja Mexico in November 2012. Dan loves off-road racing and has helped many race teams over the years always enjoying the camaraderie and friendship found in the desert racing community. However a flash fuel fire erupted while Dan was changing a tire on a race car and he was severely burned on both legs, both arms, his back and his head. Dan is not one to ask for help. However he has had no income since the accident in November 2012 and his pickup was burned to the ground in the fire along with some cash he had for an extended trip to Mexico for Thanksgiving. He has survived a very long hospital stay, several surgeries and significant physical therapy and while he had medical insurance the hospital and doctor bills have far exceeded his coverage. We are truly grateful for whatever assistance you can lend to help Dan recover from these medical and financial losses and to help him meet his goal to attend the Baja 500 race in June of 2014. For Dan, going to this race is a symbol that he will have surmounted the steep road to recovery and he will be on as Dan puts it his “Return Tour”!

Here is the description of Dan’s plight immediately following the accident. He was quickly taken to a hospital in Loreto, BCS Mexico where the doctor did a fantastic job getting Dan stabilized and his burns prepped to maximize the recovery capability. From there Dan was air lifted to the UC San Diego Burn Center where their incredible burn trauma team went to work on Dan. Due to the extent and severity of his burns the decision was made to place Dan into a medically induced coma to help him cope with the pain and to keep him immobilized to optimize potential healing following the surgeries to repair the burns. He remained in this coma from November 20
th through January 21st - over 2 full months.

When Dan was brought out of the coma he still had a long way to go. After being immobilized (or as Dan called it “mummified”) for that long of a period of time the medical staff let Dan know that his elbows and the soft tissue in his arms had calcified (HO – Heterotopic Ossification) effectively locking both his elbows in a 90 degree angle. In fact at that time the doctors said that Dan may not regain the normal use of his elbows and as a result may not be able to even feed himself going forward. Dan took that as a personal challenge to prove the medical staff wrong and with God’s help would channel that energy into his rehab and recovery.

Fast forward to now – April 2013, and after 2 more surgeries to free up the bone calcification in both elbows by the grace of God Dan has nearly normal range of motion in his left elbow and reasonable range of motion in his right and is expecting more freedom of movement as he continues physical therapy. The scarring has been kept to a relative minimum, with the most notable remaining on his left arm and the back of his left leg. Dan jokes that his face looks better now than it did before the accident with no scarring and thanks to the fire a “light peel” to remove the blemishes.

Even given the challenges that Dan has been through he feels that he is a lucky man. God blessed Dan with incredible physicians, nurses and surgeons who have given Dan a second lease on life. Even given the severity of his situation, Dan feels things could have been much worse and in fact believes that God performed many miracles within the accident keeping Dan alive. His positive, enthusiastic and unstoppable attitude has even impressed his San Diego medical staff to the point that they have asked Dan to help counsel and encourage other burn victims to complete their often painful physical therapy sessions. Dan continues to work hard in his rehab sessions. His motivation is “for every minute of pain & therapy he is 1 day closer to getting back to racing”.

Again, we want to say thanks in advance for whatever donation and prayers you can send along to Dan to help him get back on his feet both financially and physically. Please share Dan’s story to help him complete his “return tour” to desert racing. Thanks and may God Bless you and your loved ones.

= 14:20 duration. CAUTION: some strong language in the video
= 1:55 duration. Dan’s white pickup seen fully engulfed

Photo of Dan in U.C. San Diego Burn Center" (above)


May 18, 2013 UPDATED

December 19, UPDATE: 

Boob Steinberg Junior Admits race communications shortcomings with public admission: 

""The Weatherman needs Satellite internet high bandwidth to broadcast live online Come up with the proper equipment so we do not have to rely on the Diablo Observatory internet service to make the Weatherman feed work better online(frustrating to sit at home and not hear what is going on). The Weatherman needs to come up with a high speed large bandwidth satellite internet device to use at remote relay locations to better stream the events online. My Father has a meeting planned with Steve Meyers of IRC to go over options, but this equipment is expensive so I am going to need to figure a way to get sponsors or donations to help offset the costs of this equipment. Your ideas and support are welcome."" offers to help sell off Boobs fathers 'Taj Mahal' house in Parker to pay for REAL communications for safety in SCORE.

Bob Steinberg comments:

 "What other series can boast the amount of medical assets that SCORE provides? A helocopter with a doctor on board, 17 ambulances and 10 rescue units. Also all the private medical assets known to me"

December 11 Report>>>


Devastating conclusion determines medical air flights travel 800 unneeded miles in response to chase rollover accident at recent BAJA 1000

*Independent Review Forms to Oversee Race Medical Responses!

"AMEX"="American Medical Emergency Xpedition", to conduct investigations & publish public reports.

BULLETIN: San Diego County Government Emergency Medical Care Committee to receive public reports from "AMEX" on all race medical incidents!

Reviews to be conducted on all SCORE racing events


Race Communications Failed
in this years BAJA 1000! Finds
desperate need for a dedicated
Emergency and Operations Radio and Communications Channel to properly address the needs of racers, chasers and needed race personnel. 

From the show Monday Night:

 ""Hi, I am glad to finally get some information on the Chase 723 accident. The deceased was my cousin Mark. I agree that SCORE was NOT prepared!!!!!""

December 7>>>
Story Loading Here...

Hal Andreoli, "race Medical Director" for SCORE, not returning phone requests from recent attempts to fact-find for this investigation. Nominated by SCORE for award, Andreoli the active responder to Emergency Medical actions at the races. But, Hal isn't qualified to apply a band-aid! EXPOSES! 

Mark Eriksson, killed in a roll-over accident while chasing BAJA 1000 desert race

Funeral arrangements are pending for an area businessman who was killed in a truck rollover while on vacation 'chasing BAJA 1000' in Mexico.
Mark Eriksson, who was founder, president and chief operating officer of Sauk Rapids-based Talon Innovations Corp., died Nov. 15. He accepted the invitation of a friend from Los Angeles who owns a race team to ride along in a chase vehicle during the Baja 1000, an off-road race on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. He was one of three people in a truck loaded with fuel and racing equipment when it rolled on a highway, according to Eriksson’s brother, Chris.
“They were passing a semi on a highway straightaway when their left tires went off the pavement,” Chris Eriksson said. “A woman was driving and she over-corrected and the truck rolled four times and exploded. The woman was medivacced to the hospital and is showing signs of paralysis. There was a 19-year-old (man) in the truck, too, and he got a concussion but was able to walk away.”
Mark Eriksson, 45, who lived in St. Cloud, leaves behind his wife, Karla, and their teenage sons, Trevor and Trent, and a business that employs about 80 people in a 40,000-square-foot facility in Sauk Rapids.

Chris Eriksson said it is a complicated process involving four different funeral homes to transfer his brother’s body home for a funeral, which is expected to be in St. Cloud in early December.

"AMEX" Announces Loreto Burn Incident to be reviewed in 2013!



BULLETIN! UPDATED! December 1, 2012

Melanie Vail Reports to Baja Racing

 "The man from San Diego who was burnt is my neighbor. He is now in a life-threatening coma. The burns WERE NOT JUST 2ND DEGREE! Although SCORE is not responsible for his injuries, shame on SCORE for minimizing this incident."

Danny Ebberts reports to Baja Racing News:

"First off I would like to thank everyone for the well wishes and for the numerous visits I got here at the hospital. I would also like to thank the teams that read this thread and "fuel tower" thread, and possibly learned something. I am very, very glad to NOT hear about any fire accidents at this weekends race. I know our accident was a freak thing, but it shows how dangerous this sport we all love can be. I got confirmation from my doctor that I get to go home tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a very bitter/sweet day for me. i am very thankful to be going home, i was here longer then I was hoping, but will be going home quicker then doctors expected. It will be tough for me leaving with my crew member still here in ICU. I will have to come back once a week for a few weeks for check ups, but plan on coming back more then that to see Dan Caufeil and show him the same support he has supported my brothers and I with over the years. Also want to show support to good friends Lori and Greg Bragg that are pushing to return home after there accident. Please continue to pray for Dan and Lori, I know everyone's prayers and concerns really helped me. I will continue to post there progress for those who want to know."

Baja is following up on this story>>>


BAJA 1000 2012 turns out to include three spectator deaths and one fatality occurring at a chase collision, which included numerous (17) life-threatening injuries. 

Further down the race course, a racer and fueler at a pit stop caught on fire.

 From the initial reports:

"10:38- ScoreOps: reports from hospital are saying burns are only 2nd degree

10:37- ScoreOps: @149 relay, most likely UCSD at this time, unless aeromedavac has instructions to divert to a hospital more equpped for burn injuries phone # for UCSD is 1-858-657-7000, will advise when we get more info about ETA etc.

10:36- Comment From MT4Runner Report that came in to Race Radio Relay (I didn't catch who reported it) was that both the 149 and the white fuel truck (and tower) were engulfed. Co-driver was OK. Driver had some burns--possible 2nd degree. Fueler had extensive 3rd degree burns. My prayers for a full recovery to him, 149 Relay."

The burn victim was air-evacuated back to the United States. In a public comment, one of the sanctioning bodies representatives, "SCORE Operations", wasn't concerned about the injuries. He said, "Only Second-Degree burns", meaning the racer wasn't seriously injured and his life wasn't in danger.

 At least we're back to normal! Normal Baja racing and lesser Narco Stories! Now we just have to report on Oscar Ramos F***ing the racers!

The situation goes downhill from here. SCORE Operations is the responsible party for race safety coordination. As mentioned by last year, the so called, "Medical Director" coordinating medical air evacuations for SCORE is actually their Mexican  insurance broker, based in California.

That broker, an American company, is the same one that doesn't pay claims to American racers in Mexico and authorities in the State of California investigated their surrogates to fully inform customers that they "were not an actual insurance company".

From their website:

"Legal Notice: The [name] membership is not an insurance policy, and will not pay for medical bills, or the transport of patients from Mexico. The [name] membership will help with all the necessary arrangements to assist members with safe transportation into a U.S. hospital. Please do not contact us via email for any emergency assistance. Members can call our toll free number or [] after business hours. Our 24/7 answering service will assist you. Thank you."

The most famous BAJA 1000 race related incident, was when a narco enforcer, with a rifle, shot and hit a prerunning motorcycle racer, almost killing him. The first emergency call went to the surrogate and went unanswered. A call that was promised to take care of customers emergency needs in Mexico. 

Hal Andreoli, noted as the Medical Director in public communications by the race outfit, has no medical training, whatsoever. He has absolutely no business handling extreme medical emergencies. Andreoli has no-standing in Mexico for any medical qualifications, except as the 'Medical' for SCORE-International.

Maybe he holds that 'position' to make sure the profits of the racing organization don't go into the care of the dead and injured of racing in the SCORE-International events?

So, SCORE has a completely jaded operations director and an unqualified, profit motivated 'medical director' taking care of every injured person during these "Baja" races.



This information from a reader:

"Okay drama queens. I just got off the phone with my dad who is in this photo. He and I go to this spot every year for the 500 and he was there for the wreck. IF IT WAS NOT FOR THE ROCK, THAT WAS ALREADY THERE, THERE WOULD BE MANY DEAD PEOPLE CAUSE THE CAR WAS HEADED FOR THE CROWD. The drivers even signed autographs and took pictures with the locals. The light bar guy is what it is. Thank that rock, because it might have just saved baja racing for the future due to driver error. Look at the video and picture that car going up the embankment and taking out families. That truely was a good outcome for a potientally(sp) horrible situation. I'm usually standing right their, WITH MY KIDS. Anyone who attends an off-road race needs to be aware of WHAT COULD HAPPEN. Glad everyone is okay. Now you all can go back to bashing the locals and making up rumors while I count the days until I can get back to Mexico."

 The Accident/Fatality reports near the turn-off to L.A. Bay:

 "Chase 723: Major injury status – Airlifted from Mexico to UCSD Medical Center: Sustained a Thoracic fracture in her lower spine and head injuries. No brain damage, paralysis is evident. Other passenger suffered a concussion and was also hospitalized. Unsure of any other passengers at this time."

"It was a terrible nightmare for all of us on the race teams for 76 and 723. To keep respect for the deceased and the grieving family, as well as the one who is in critical condition at the hospital right now and her family, and for the 3rd who was quite young, I will give details without names for now. I will call them chaser #1, 2 and 3. There were 3 chasers in one of our chase vehicles, which was heading southbound on highway 1 just north of the LA Bay turnoff. The driver was following a big, but slow semi for a long time, and in a safe, straight section of the road, attempted to pass the semi. During the pass, the left wheels came off the road. When the attempt was made to get back on the road and finish the pass, the truck spun out and rolled more than once, while taking out a few pillars, and losing gas cans which promptly exploded. All three chasers were seat belted. Chaser #1 was able to get out with some minor assistance, and while he was pretty banged up, and shooken up, he was able to walk away. Chaser #2 and 3 were pinned in the truck when the final roll landed on the roof. Our first team chase vehicle on the scene was following and witnessed the accident. The three chasers in that vehicle worked tirelessly to pry open doors and get chaser #2 and 3 out of the truck. Chaser #2 survived, while chaser #3 did not. By then, the 3rd and 4th team chase vehicles (which included us) were on the scene, and even though alot of us didn't know each other, we all jumped in to help, along with the many, many other chase vehicles from other teams who offered assistance. The support from the racing community was really great. We know (race radio relay) worked to get the flight assistance to us, but it was several hours before we were able to get Chaser 1 and 2 into a helicopter to head to Guerrero Negro where they boarded a plane to go north. For this reason, I greatly admire both chasers #2 and 3 who remained calm and were very brave through the entire time in spite of their pain and fear settling in. The whole team would also like to give a big shout out to Tom, the team manager, who stayed very calm and extremely professional as he managed the radio, gave direction to the entire team spread out over the peninsula (who all promptly pulled out of the race upon receipt of the news), and helped manage the horrific scene transpiring in front of him. He is still in Ensenada right now waiting for the last crew to travel up the peninsula and get safely home."

The Baja 1000 Car-B-Cue Fire near Loreto gets alot of local press and Danny Ebberts comments:

UPDATED comments November 24, 2012:

"Thanks again for everyone's concerns and prayers, and all the criticism too(I guess). Like I said in my original letter Dan Cauffiel has been running fuel stops for Dale, myself and other teams for years. We have 5 fuel towers, all of them have shut off valves directly where hose attaches to tower. 4 of them are ball valves and unfortunately only 1 of them is a dead mans valve. We will be changing them all to dead man valves before next race. It has always been the 2 most important jobs/duties is to have someone with there hands on the shut off at all times during pit stop, and other to have at least 1 person with large fire extinguisher. We still do not know if hose came apart or if dry break came off hose. The hose we were using had got very stiff and was in plans to change. It is hard to tell from videos if person manning shut off valve ran when fire started or what happened. The large fire extinguishers did not do much to the inferno we had. I hope the extinguishers we had helped put fires out on Dan and Ceaser. For those critics out there that are saying they would have done things different in that pit stop, just imagine what those of us sitting here in the hospital would like to change. We try to do everything as safe as possible, especially when it comes to fueling. That was our 8th fuel stop of the race, so we had 7 flawless stops. We will continue to research what happened to learn from this one big mishap and share with other teams. I would like to thank anyone who helped or tried to help during the fire. I know how hot it was and was impossible to be close. The Mexican authorities did a great job helping also. Dan has had a few surgeries already that have gone well and is expected to have more. He is doing good and is making a slow recovery. I am improving everyday and will go into surgery tomorrow to do some deep cleaning of burns on my face and my hands. They will also start doing some skin grafts during surgery tomorrow." 

Original comments:
"I want to thank everyone for your thoughts, concerns and prayers. I look much worse than I feel. My hands and face are sore from 2nd and 3rd degree burns. I will be in the hospital for at least the next few days while I heal and they determine whether or not I’ll need skin grafts. They are moving me out of the ICU Burn Unit this evening. Dan Caufiel received burns to 28% of his body but is in high spirits and should make a full recovery. His friend Ceasar had some minor burns to his arms and face. The car I was supposed to drive (#112 with Brad Etter) had some bad luck at the start. It had a bad crash and was taken out of the race early. Our focus was then 100% on the #149 car (with Cory Kruseman and Rickie Gaunt). Cory and Rickie were doing really well for their first Mexico race. They asked me to drive from San Ignacio to Loreto to give them a break. Robert Alatorre and I got in the car around 4 am and everything was going good. When we got to Loreto and stopped at Dan Caufiel’s pit (Dan has been doing fuel stops for my brothers and I for 10+ years). We shut off the car and Robert exited the vehicle right away. As I was unhooking my helmet, I saw a splash of fuel and then the whole car was instantly engulfed in flames. I had trouble getting my window net down, which was a good thing because that was the side with the hottest part of the fire. I had trouble with my belts but finally got them off and was able to dive thru the passenger window. Luckily, I was wearing a two layer driving suit and full nomex underwear, socks and gloves. We still are not sure what the cause was, either the dry-brake plunger was stuck or the hose possibly came apart. Dan Caufiel was removing the left rear tire with an electric impact which, we think, is what sparked the fuel. With the car being fully engulfed no one was able to get in to help me and they all though I was still trapped in the car. Once I got out and they found me I received a lot of help from my team, other teams and spectators. Dan and I both were transported to the Loreto Hospital where we received awesome care. Thanks to SCORE Rescue, my brother Dale and Antonio Cruz we were able to get two planes from Loreto to San Diego. Dan and I are thankful to be alive and would like to thank Todd and his team at SCORE Rescue and our team, families and friends."

"Only" Second Degree Burns?!

Story LOADING>>>

Because, in Baja desert off-road racing, the injuries and deaths are far more frequent and commonplace. "No big deal". is the authority on desert-off-road racing reporting.  We broke the inside story of the California 200 Slaughter, ESPN National cited our work in their magazine coverage of the events.

"Sloppy still faces the threat of lawsuits from surviving families and did not respond to repeated interview requests from The Magazine. After the accident he wrote on his Facebook wall that he was "so incredibly devastated and lost." In October, the off-road blog reported that Sloppy, during a brief interview, had placed blame for the wreck on tire failure."


Reported by Gary Newsome
Other life threatening BAJA 1000 2012 incidents loading now>>> 

1 comment:

Melanie Vail said...

The man from San Diego who was burnt is my neighbor. He is now in a life-threatening coma. The burns WERE NOT JUST 2ND DEGREE! Although SCORE is not responsible for his injuries, shame on SCORE for minimizing this incident.