Dario Franchitti recovering in Houston after Grand Prix crash

By Rachel McNeill, Anchor/Medical Expert, rmcneill@kprc.com
Published On: Oct 07 2013 06:52:56 PM CDT

October 7, 2013: Race car driver Dario Franchitti is recovering at Memorial Hermann's Texas Trauma Institute after a dramatic crash at the Grand Prix of Houston. Rachel McNeil reports.

HOUSTON -

Race car driver Dario Franchitti is recovering at Memorial Hermann's Texas Trauma Institute after a dramatic crash at the Houston Grand Prix.

More than a dozen fans were also hurt after debris from the crash flew into the crowd.

The three-time Indy 500 champion collided with another driver, sending debris flying through the protective fencing. Exclusive video, sent to Local 2 by a fan, shows pieces of both cars, hitting fans who had no time to react.

Carl Daniel was standing alongside the track when the crash happened and videotaped the impact. 

"The car went into the air and it started coming towards the fence, this all happened in less than a second. There was no time to move. There was no time to run away," Daniel recounted.

Paramedics treated most of the injured spectators at the scene, but two fans were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

"The thought in my mind was that these were going to be the last moments that I was going to be experiencing on earth. The car struck the fence and literally people say they heard a bomb," Daniel said.

Franchitti was the most seriously injured. He suffered two fractured vertebrae, a fractured right ankle and a concussion, according to the Associated Press.

Houston Methodist Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Patrick McCulloch says depending on where the fractures occurred recovery can take six months to a year.

"Most of the time these are treated without surgery, in which case it's probably some period of time in a brace, even with limited activity and bed rest or in a wheelchair," Dr. McCulloch explained.

Franchitti is married to actress Ashley Judd. The couple announced they were separating earlier this year. But shortly after the crash, Judd tweeted she was on her way to Houston to be by her husband's side and thanked fans for their prayers.

On Monday, Franchitti tweeted his well wishes to fans that were injured by debris.

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