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The Carl Merrill/Lance Smith Escort Cosworth went off the road at the end of
a straight away, approximately 6 miles into Stage 1 at the Prescott Forest
rally in Prescott, Arizona. Carl had a sudden cardiac arrest prior to the
accident, causing him to go off the road. Competitors Dave White (Dentist),
Tony Takori (Surgeon), and Joe Noyes performed CPR on Carl until the EMT's
and emergency helicopter arrived. Tony described Carl's pulse as "weak, but
stable." At the time, it wasn't known whether the accident was what caused
the cardiac arrest, or if it had happened prior. Carl was transported to
Yavapai Regional Medical Center as well as codriver Lance Smith, who it was
thought might have injuries, but chest x-rays came back negative (Lance was
just in a serious accident earlier in the year, causing a concussion).
Carl's wife Barbara, who was visiting their son Scott, in Scottsdale, was
called to the hospital. As of 10:00 PM that night, Carl was "critical, but
stable." All of the evening stages were cancelled and organizers and
competitors decided to meet in the morning to decide on the status of the
Carl died at 8:31 AM PST October 3, as the result of a cardiac event,
according to the hospital. Arrangements are being made to take Carl back to
Maine. That morning, the organizers informed the competitors that the
Merrill family urged them to continue with the event, which the competitors
did. The family also was informed by the attending doctor that what
happened to Carl was a sudden cardiac arrest, and was probably not due to
the accident. Carl was 62.
Saturday, the Carl Merrill/Lance Smith Escort Cosworth was given a
ceremonial "first on the road." A five minute period of silence followed
for those who wanted to remember Carl and his contribution to the sport.
The cars left with "Carl Merrill #3" stickers on the windshields.
The report on the Merrill/Smith car, which was inspected by PRO Rally
National Safety Steward Greg Lund, National Series Steward John McArthur,
and PRO Rally Board member Doc Shrader. The Ford Escort Cosworth, which hit
a tree, held up well with only slight damage and all safety equipment
Carl will be sorely missed by everyone. He was an absolute gentleman, a
great sportsman, and was a friend to everyone. I personally always enjoyed
talking with Carl quite extensively and jovially, and while I obviously am
completely stressed out over the weekend events, I do find some peace in
knowing that he was doing what he loved to do, and I think that's the way
he'd want it.
For anyone that would like to send cards or letters, you can send them to:
Ogunquit, Maine. 03907
We'll miss you Carl!!!
for pictures of some of Carl's events this year, check out
http://pdikeman.ne.mediaone.net/audipics/prorally.html . I will be putting
more pictures up tomorrow.