Man dies after being hit by car at Bakersfield Speedway

Man dies after being hit by car at Bakersfield Speedway »Play Video
Photo of Steve O'Neil taken from his Facebook page.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A man died Saturday night at the Bakersfield Speedway after he was hit by a car at the American Stock main event.

The Kern County Sheriff's Office said that 54-year-old Steve O'Neil, of Bakersfield, was hit by a vehicle racing on the track at around 8:20 p.m.

Track officials said that O'Neil, a Speedway employee, was working the event as a race official.

O'Neil was taken to Kern Medical Center, were he later died.

 Erika Monterroza, with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, said their agency is still trying to determine jurisdiction.

"We know he was standing outside of the protected area," Monterroza said.

Below is a statement from officials at the Bakersfield Speedway:

There are no words to express how deeply saddened we are with the loss of one of our own. On behalf of the Schweitzer family we send our prayers and heartfelt condolences out to Pam, James and the entire O’Neil family in this time of sorrow.  Steve’s presence each and every Saturday night brought joy to the entire Speedway team.  He will be greatly missed.

Steve was a member of the group 80 Proof Divers, who had this to say about his death:

Last night, Steve O'Neil died in a horrible accident. Steve is one of the founding fathers of 80 Proof Divers. He was always the Enforcer in our groups. He always made sure that everyone was diving within established safety guidelines. 

Steve has always been the perfect Dive Buddy, a great friend and a member of the family. Steve will be deeply missed.