Thousand Oaks Driver Suffers Heart Attack During Race, Dies

Associated Press

Les Erickson, 43, of Thousand Oaks, died Saturday after suffering a massive heart attack while driving his car on the California section of the SCORE Parker 400, race spokesman Deke Houlgate said.

Erickson pulled to the side of the road and slowed when he began to feel dizzy, members of his team told Houlgate. Erickson then slumped in his seat and his foot pressed hard against the accelerator. But passenger Andy Mellinger reached over and turned off the ignition, avoiding an accident.

Erickson was airlifted to Parker Community Hospital, where he was declared dead about 2 1/2 hours later, Houlgate said.

Danny Letner of Orange broke a long off-road racing drought by winning the race.


Letner, 61, averaged 56.63 m.p.h. over the 310-mile course in California and Arizona.

He finished in a Raceco Porsche in 5 hours 17 minutes 50.9 seconds.

Larry Roeseler and Danny LaPorte, both of Irvine, riding a Kawasaki on a slightly different 300-mile course in Arizona, were the overall motorcycle winners.