Utahns share video and account of deadly off-road race accident at Baja 500

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 19:38:55-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Two Utah men just returned from Mexico, where they witnessed a horrific crash at the Baja 500 race that took the life of an 8-year-old boy.

They’re sharing the video that they captured the day of the incident.

Gus Cuevas has attended the off-road race in Ensenada, Mexico for the past five years.

“It’s just a thrill," he said.

But this year, excitement turned to horror.

Gus and his friends were right on the track when a race truck crashed into spectators.

The race truck was driven by the CEO of the Utah-based company Vivint, Todd Pedersen.

In the video, he approaches a turn when the truck suddenly barrels into a wash.

“Everybody immediately rushed to help as soon as it happened,” Cuevas said.

His friend, Wyatt Coevent, also witnessed the aftermath.

“I just had wishful thinking," he said. "I hope nobody was hurt, even though it looked pretty bad.”

Three spectators were hit, including 8-year-old Xander Hendriks from California.

He died at a local hospital. His mother suffered head and leg injuries.

“It was a very sad moment,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas said Pedersen emerged out of the truck in shock.

“He was definitely devastated about the whole situation," he said.

Xander’s father is a pastor at the Pacific Coast Church in Southern California.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page  to help pay for funeral expenses.

Friends are leaving well wishes as well: “Nothing we can do to bring back our beloved Xander, and we celebrate that he is spending eternity with Jesus.”

Todd Pedersen released a statement, offering his condolences.

A spokesperson told FOX 13 News authorities in Mexico released Pedersen and have ruled the incident as an accident.