Deadly crash closes SPEEDVEGAS until further notice

LAS VEGAS - SPEEDVEGAS, a place where people can race expensive, high-performance cars is closed to the public until further notice.  Two people were killed in a fiery crash on the track Sunday.

SPEEDVEGAS is located on Las Vegas Boulevard South, just off I-15 near Sloan.  According to Metro Police, a client was driving the Lamborghini on the SpeedVegas racetrack with an instructor in the car. Investigators say the client, a man in his 30's, lost control and crashed into a wall.

One on the victims was the driving instructor, Gil Ben-Kely.  He was riding in the passenger seat at the time of the wreck, but the driver has not yet been identified.

The car erupted in flames, and both men were killed. 

"Today, an accident on the track resulted in the deaths of a SpeedVegas employee and a customer. We are fully cooperating with investigators at this time. We are devastated by this tragic event and extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families and to our SpeedVegas team members who have lost a beloved colleague," said Aaron Fessler, co-founder and chief executive officer, SpeedVegas.

The incident is being treated as an industrial accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will lead the investigation.

Teri Williams, a Public Information Officer for the State of Nevada Department of Business & Industry issued a statement on behalf of OSHA, who's investigating the accident.

"Nevada OSHA was notified of the incident, and a compliance officer was dispatched to the scene of the fatality to conduct an investigation.  No further details can be released due to the open investigation."

Ben-Kely's family told 8 News Now they were heartbroken by his death, but they also expressed that he died doing something that he loved.

Ben-Kely was a two-time breast cancer survivor and lifelong racecar driver who had started working at SpeedVegas when they opened last summer.

"He was just such a true gentleman," said Stephanie Kirby, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen Nevada. "If they gave a course in Gentleman 101 Gil would teach it because he was just so gracious and loving."

Kirby said Ben-Kely always had his wife Antonella by his side and was so proud of his children.

"Just a real true family man and [he] just loved what he did," Kirby said.

Kirby said Ben-Kely gave a male face to a disease that's commonly just associated with women.

"To have somebody, this gentleman who's a racecar driver -- it doesn't get much more manly than that," Kirby said.

The name of the 36-year-old man who rented the car has yet to be released by authorities.

8 News Now reached out to SPEEDVEGAS Monday regarding security regulation and was told a spokesperson was unavailable.

On Monday, SPEEDVEGAS released an additional statement on Facebook:

"As a result of yesterday's tragic accident, the track will be closed until further notice. We appreciate your understanding and will send an update once we determine when we will reopen. Thank you for your support during this difficult time."

As for security regulations, their website and promotional fliers state you must be at least 18 years old to drive, with a valid drivers license. Insurance is included in the racing experience.

The flier also states, "No prior experience required. We provide instruction."

8 News Now called other exotics racing companies around Las Vegas Monday, but none of the companies wanted to comment on the current investigation.  However, both Exotics Racing and Dream Racing driving schools said that safety is the number one priority.

When asked about industry regulations in Nevada, both companies said that there aren't any rules or legislation that regulates raceways in Nevada.  It's up to a company's landlord an/or insurance company to regulate themselves.

Dream Racing, a company which originated in Europe, said regulations for this type of racing is mandated in France and regardless of requirements they still strictly abide by French safety procedures and even require instructors to receive the same certification training that is required in France.

Dream Racing also stated they follow safety protocol and regulations required by the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


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