CONCORD, N.C. -- Police said they found evidence that at least one of two motorcyclists killed in last weekend s crash on Charlotte Motor Speedway had been drinking alcohol.
But police are waiting on blood test results to determine whether the motorcyclist had surpassed the legal alcohol limit before taking to the track following a rally at the speedway to honor Vietnam veterans.
More than 60,000 people turned out Saturday for the Vietnam Veterans Homecoming Celebration, a daylong event to pay tribute to veterans of the unpopular war. The event opened that morning with a grand entrance by motorcycle groups Rolling Thunder and the Patriot Guard.
Around 5 p.m., about a half-hour after the celebration came to an end, many riders were circling the track, some in opposite directions, according to witnesses who described the scene as chaotic and reckless.
Thomas Hollingsworth, a 71-year-old from Piedmont, S.C., and two relatives were riding one more lap before they headed home, Hollingsworth s niece told the Observer.
Driving his motorcycle in the opposite direction was 66-year-old Alan Mockus of Alto, Ga., according to Concord police. His wife, Deborah, was riding on the motorcycle with him.
Concord Police said Tuesday that they believe Mockus was coming out of turn 1 while Hollingsworth drove away from turn 2 in the opposite direction.
The men collided head-on between the turns as they drove along the paved area of track s lower portion, police said. Each was traveling at an estimated 50 mph when they crashed, according to a police report.
All three were taken to area hospitals, but Alan Mockus and Hollingsworth both Vietnam veterans died from their injuries.
Deborah Mockus, 56, remained hospitalized Tuesday, police said. Her condition was not available.
Police said they discovered initial evidence that Alan Mockus had been drinking alcohol. Maj. Allen Overcash said investigators won t know the men s blood alcohol concentrations until they receive blood test results from the medical examiner.
Vendors contracted by the speedway were selling beer at Saturday s event, speedway spokesman Scott Cooper has said.
It s unclear whether any efforts were made to prevent drivers from circling the track following the celebration. Cooper declined to comment Tuesday, but in an earlier statement, he said From our initial review, it appears that proper safety procedures regarding the motorcycle procession entry and exit were in place.
Barry Burke, S.C. coordinator for the Rolling Thunder, told the Observer that organizers worked extensively on creating safety guidelines for motorcyclists and that riders were instructed not to exceed 35 mph and to remain on the speedway s apron, just below the actual track, except during the opening and closing procession.
More than 2,000 motorcyclists were estimated to have taken part in the procession into and out of the speedway.