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Key players

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 22, 2001

DR. STEVE BOHANNON: The head of emergency medical services at Daytona International Speedway viewed the autopsy photos three days after the crash; during a news conference that week he advanced the theory that a broken seat belt might have contributed to Earnhardt's death.

RICHARD CHILDRESS: As head of Richard Childress Racing, he owned Earnhardt's No. 3 Chevrolet. His crew was responsible for installing the seat belt, though Earnhardt had a key say in its placement.

TERESA EARNHARDT: Earnhardt's widow fought to make autopsy photos private. She now heads his company, Dale Earnhardt Inc.

MIKE HELTON: Since announcing Earnhardt's death, the NASCAR president had been under fire because NASCAR hadn't been more forthcoming about its safety efforts.

DR. ROBERT HUBBARD: The Michigan State professor helped create the Head and Neck Support device, a head restraint designed to prevent basal skull fractures in auto racing.

DR. BARRY MYERS: The court-appointed expert from Duke University countered NASCAR's original theory, saying Earnhardt died when his head whipped forward after his car struck the wall.

DR. JAMES RADDIN: A director of Biodynamic Research Corp., he played a lead role in the investigation and presented its findings. His expertise is in the movement of a body during a crash.

DR. DEAN SICKING: Head of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska, he helped lead NASCAR's investigation, principally studying how the cars moved during the crash.

BILL SIMPSON: His safety equipment company made Earnhardt's $89.95 safety harness. He received death threats after NASCAR suggested the broken belt contributed to Earnhardt's death. Resigned from the company July 31.

TOMMY PROPST: The Orange County firefighter and emergency medical technician, one of the first on the accident scene, told the Orlando Sentinel the seat belt was intact.

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