BOWMANVILLE, ONT. â€“ Twenty-five year old rookie Trans-Am Series Driver Gary Longo, of Chicago, Ill., was seriously injured in an accident Sunday at Mosport International Raceway while competing in the 125 mile Trans-Am event. Longo was...
BOWMANVILLE, ONT. – Twenty-five year old rookie Trans-Am Series Driver Gary Longo, of Chicago, Ill., was seriously injured in an accident Sunday at Mosport International Raceway while competing in the 125 mile Trans-Am event.
Longo was airlifted to the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre Trauma unit where he was diagnosed with a broken C2 vertebra, which is located below the base of his skull in his upper neck. Doctors and family were relieved when Longo demonstrated movement in his legs and hands. X-rays and an MRI indicated that the spinal column was disrupted and the encased spinal cord was bruised. Longo suffered severe bruising to his upper body but sustained no other injuries in the crash.
Neurosurgeons at Sunnybrook operated on Longo today in order to repair the fracture and restore stability to his spinal column. This was facilitated by a bone graft from Longo’s left hip, which was reinforced by an overlapping metal plate. The operation took just over four hours to complete. Doctors reported that the operation was very successful. Longo’s condition has now been upgraded from critical to fair. Longo is currently in a halo vest, keeping his neck perfectly still giving the bones their best chance to heal. If all goes well, Longo will be transferred closer to his Evanston, IL home within one week.
On lap 38 of the 50 lap event, Longo’s car collided with the # 29 Chevrolet Corvette driven by Mike Gagliardo. Gagliardo was transported to Lakeridge Health Center in Bowmanville, Ontario, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Witnesses to the accident reported that two cars tangled forcing one car off the track creating a dust cloud that completely obscured the track. As Longo followed through turn 1, completely blinded by the dust cloud he was unable to see the #29 Cheverolet Corvette which had spun to a stop in the center of the track; the impact was unavoidable.
Neither driver was wearing a Hans restraint devise.
David T Krawczyk, President and COO of Wickes Lumber stated, “This was truly a tragic day for race fans, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of both the Gagliardo and Longo family’s”
“We are truly sadden by this tragedy,” said Kerry Alexander, Owner of LAC Motorsports and Driver of #35 Panoz Esperante “The entire crew and I are very happy with the progress of Gary’s recovery so far. Gary is a very tough kid and we look forward to helping him through this. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to the friends and family of Mike Gagliardo.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Cards may be sent to Gary Longo at: <pre> Mr. Gary Longo Attn: Wickes Lumber 706 North Deerpath Drive Vernon Hills, IL 60061