Survivors Speak Up
"Me and my good friend, Brian Wolfin, we'd been planning on coming out here to watch this race," recalls Keith. He stands in the Mojave Desert at the site of the accident. Memorials mark the ground where over 40 people were injured and eight lost their lives. "He's got two kids. Seth is 5, and Sarah is 1 year old. I had no idea Brian was down here. I thought he was above the jump. Then my phone rings, and it was my buddy, Jason. He says, â€˜Keith, you've got to come down here. You've got to come down here. Big B is hit, and he's dead. You've got to come down and help identify the body.' I just said, â€˜So, what's Seth going to do now?'"
Dr. Phil reveals that Keith was standing 20 feet away from the site of the accident. He sits on the stage in front of the young man. "Why did this happen?" he asks.
"Everyone has the argument that people were standing too close. That argument is 100 percent accurate," Keith replies. "They were."
"I've heard people say that they thought [the driver] was just showboating, that he was showing off and just trying to be a stud coming through there big, fast and powerful. Do you feel that way?"
"Yeah," Keith answers. "He shouldn't have been going that fast. That was way too fast."
[AD]The Dr. Phil show attempted to contact the driver, Brett Sloppy, but he didn't respond to requests. According to news reports, he posted the following apology on his Facebook page: "So incredibly lost and devastated â€¦ my thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and friends involved. Thank you to all my friends for sticking with me even through these tragic times. I love you all."
"What's your reaction to that?" Dr. Phil asks Keith.
"I know he didn't mean to do it on purpose, but he meant to be going that fast. He was trying to haul ass. He was trying to show everybody how fast his truck is," Keith answers. "My biggest focus is the family of Brian Wolfin, and who else I can help through this whole thing."
Derek says his life was changed in an instant the day he took his 7-year-old son to watch the races. Tragically, his good friend, Andrew Therrien, was killed saving Derek's son.
Addressing Derek, Dr. Phil says, "Your son is safe. You have him, but for this man [Andrew], he would have been gone in a moment. What do you say to yourself about that?"
"It's hard. Some days are harder than others. It's supposed to be a fun time, and I put my son in the place where he stood and to me, died, but he didn't. I had a great friend, great man, great dad who took it upon himself to save him," Derek replies.
"How do you react to this emotionally?"
"I'm still trying to figure this out," he admits. "The hardest part for me is just getting over the fact that I thought I was going to pick up my dead son."
[AD]"You've got to be patient," Dr. Phil says.
He turns to Jonathan, who shot footage from the race. "It was your first race?" he asks.
"I've never been to a race before. I went with a couple of my buddies just to watch for the first time."
"Was that your last race?" Dr. Phil asks.
"I don't know if I want to say it's my last race, but I don't want to go back there. I can't sleep at night," he says.
Dr. Phil outlines the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder:
- Recurring dreams about the event.
- Feeling detached or estranged from others.
- Easily startled.
- Difficulty concentrating.
"You need to recognize if this is happening to you so you can reach out and do some things about it," Dr. Phil says. He also explains that anyone who has survived a traumatic event can commit to creating active and conscious control of thoughts and emotions. He highlights this process in his litmus logic test:
1) Is it true?
2) Does it serve your best interest?
3) Does it protect and prolong your health?
4) Does it get you what you want?
[AD]"If the answer to any of those four is no, then you need to generate another statement, you need to replace that with a new thought, something you can answer yes to those four things about," Dr. Phil says. He also suggests healthy eating, exercise, restful sleep and establishing a routine to help the body repair itself.