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Texas Motor Speedway ride-along kills Dallas man

FORT WORTH -- A Dallas man has died from injuries he received during a ride-along in a high-performance car that wrecked Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Fred Donald "Don" Krusemark, 87, died Monday at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.

Krusemark, a Navy veteran of World War II, was among more than 100 people who were participating in a donor appreciation event sponsored by Carter BloodCare. The daylong outing paired the blood donors with professional drivers who took them for laps in Corvettes on the speedway's oval track.

Krusemark was riding in a Corvette being driven by Andre Vandenberg, 53, of Lewisville when, according to a witness, a tire blew out and the car hit a retaining wall.

Vandenberg remained in critical condition Tuesday at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

"It's a terrible tragedy," said Linda Goelzer, spokeswoman for Carter BloodCare. "This was intended to be a celebration for people who do a lot."

Goelzer said that she did not know Krusemark but that others at Carter BloodCare remember him fondly.

"This man gave of himself, literally, to save lives, and he gave frequently," she said. "He was one of those remarkable individuals who made time consistently, and we're very, very sorry."

Krusemark donated blood and blood platelets six or more times a year, which earned him the invitation to attend one of several donor appreciation events, Goelzer said.

Last year was the first time Carter BloodCare offered the ride-alongs at TMS, she said.

Participants this year were issued helmets, suits and other official gear.

The car carrying Krusemark "lost control on the racetrack," according to Fort Worth police records.

No other details were available from police because they did not do a detailed investigation. State law does not require them to investigate wrecks on private property.

However, a witness, Santos Flores of Denton, said he saw the car blow a tire, spin out of control and strike a retaining wall.

A TMS spokesman said the track was being rented for the event and referred questions to Texas Driving Experience of Fort Worth, which provided the cars and the drivers.

Company officials declined to comment.

Krusemark's relatives, in a statement obtained Tuesday, indicated that they will press the company for answers.

"To date Texas Driving Experience has not been cooperative in providing information about the incident," the family said. "We intend to look into the facts and circumstances of the incident and the safety of the program."

The family described Krusemark as an "incredibly young 87 years old," who was active at St. Rita Catholic Parish and the Catholic community of Dallas.

"He was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather," the family said. "This is a devastating loss to our family."

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