THE family of popular racing driver Dan Wheldon have been left devastated following his tragic death in a 15-car smash while racing in America.
The 33-year-old father of two, from Emberton, was unable to avoid thehorrific accident as he raced at 225mph around the oval circuit in Las Vegas on Sunday.
His car launched into the air before hitting the catch-fencing and sliding back down the track in flames.
Emergency medical staff air-lifted him to hospital, though he died of his injuries later that afternoon.
On hearing the news of his death, the Indycar drivers agreed to cancel the rest of the race.
Dan leaves behind his wife Susie and sons Sebastian, two, and seven-month-old Oliver, all of whom joined him at his bedside in hospital. It’s believed his two brothers and sister were also there.
Outside the Wheldon family home in Emberton a family friend was yesterday seen coming to the door to receive flowers and condolences from neighbours.
The friend, who did not wish to be named, said Dan’s mum Susan and dad Clive were at the family home but were too upset to comment.He said: “They are in no fit state to speak to anyone at the moment, they are resting after a very difficult night.”
The Wheldon family – whose son Dan was privately educated at Bedford School – own a seven bedroom large sandstone cottage in the village.
Neighbour Jean Garrett, 49, said: “I have known the Wheldon family for 27 years and I have known Daniel all his life.
“Our thoughts, my husband’s, myself and my family, are with them.
“I can’t get my head around it at the moment. When they first moved into the village I got to know Sue, his mother, and we became friends.
“It just feels like there is a big hole in my life now. I never went to America to see Daniel but I would always make sure that I would visit him when he came back home.
“He was a lovely person. I can’t believe what has happened.”
Rector Richard Caddell, from Emberton’s All Saints Church, paid his respects to the family. He said: “I know the Wheldons well but it is too soon to tell whether they will hold the funeral here or in America.”