Siblings share memories of man killed in demolition derby accident

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WARNING: While the footage below has been blurred to obscure the moment of impact and profanity has been edited, some viewers may still find the video disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

MILLARD COUNTY, Utah — A Nephi man was killed in Delta during Millard County’s demolition derby Friday, and on Saturday officials identified the victim.

The 40th annual Demolition Derby was part of Fourth of July festivities that took place at the Millard County fairgrounds, and according to a press release from the Millard County Sheriff’s Office, 50-year-old Robert Steele was “killed in a freak accident.”

Steele, a life-long Nephi resident, leaves behind a wife, four children and two grandchildren.

"He was always and able to do anything for anyone; that especially included his family," said his brother Chet Steele. "If everyone who was ever touched by him could just pay it forward the world would be a lot better place."

Lions Club president Ron Webb said the victim was a judge for the event. The press release stated Steele was behind a dirt berm that allowed him to see the derby, and during one of the derby’s heats a car was struck by another vehicle, went over the berm and hit Steele. The crash can be seen in the video above, which has been edited to obscure the moment of impact.

Bystanders as well as ambulance crews on scene immediately rushed to help the man, according to the press release, and Steele was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"Seeing him over in the hospital with his hands all callused and dirty, he had grease on them, finger nails worn right down, but that's just the kind of guy he was: salt of the earth--just a good hometown guy," Chet Steele said.

According to his family, he had a real appreciation for cars and the demolition derby. His family says he died doing what he loved.

"He loved the smell of gasoline in the air, the cars, the rev of the engines, he loved all of that," sister Rita Anderson said.

Steele's siblings called him the rock of the family. He lived life to the fullest, and almost seemed invincible.

"He was just a tough guy, you think he's going to live to 100, we thought he'd outlive us all," Anderson said. "We've been called so many times he's been in the emergency room for different things, you know wrecked his motorcycle, different accidents, so when we got the call late at night I thought it was something similar."

The family said, despite the tragic outcome, there was no place he'd rather of been than the Fourth of July demolition derby.

"I fully believed that he lived life with no regrets," Chet Steele said.

 

 

18 comments

  • Frankie Mann

    I saw the whole thing from the car speeding towards the man to the ambulance speeding away. Very sad way to end the 4th of July.

    • Anonymous

      This is very rude. We are here to pay tribute to this man and his family in their time of need. Not to tell each other how they should spend their July 4th.

    • Anon

      This is so disrespectful sorry everyone likes to have a tribute to the fallen soilders. Theres no problem with the derby we were there and saw it. We can learn and make sure this never happens again

  • Anonymous

    I have no problem with car Derby’s, they can be a fun family event. What bothers me is the size of the berms at this derby. Those are not going to even slow down a car. The derby that we go to have way bigger and higher berms, the cars get stuck in them. But in the end horrible accidents happen and the best thing to do is learn from them so it won’t happen again. And pray for their families. This man was a GREAT one and has a wonderful family.

    • Stupid People

      Nobody said he wasn’t a good man. That doesn’t make this tradition any less stupid and dangerous or bring a husband and father home to his family. If he’d made a better choice regarding how to spend his time, he would still be here, and there would be no need to memorialize his life. I’m sure he was a great man, I’m also positive that his family wishes he would have been ANYWHERE else that night, and if he were alive he would be wishing the same thing. Why is it rude to point out the truth and in doing so perhaps prevent someone else from making the same tragic choice? You people are so brainless.

      • sue ann

        People die in tragic accidents doing risky things all the time. Sky diving. Bungee jumping. Surfing. Rock climbing. The list goes on, incredibly risky activities that people do for the fun, excitement, exhilaration, passion. It certainly is a tragedy and I feel for his family, but why is doing what you love stupid? I’m sure you never leave the comfort and safety of your computer chair where you troll internet comments sections to risk your life doing anything worthwhile. This just goes back to the old adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

      • anonymous

        And you are so ridiculously heartless!!!!! Put yourself in their shoes and see how you would feel if you just lost your dad, husband, grandpa, brother! YOU ARE RIDICULOUS

  • Jodi

    All the money the drivers won at the derby was donated to the family. This was a tragic accident but the derby community is doing many things to get donations for the family. Prayers for the family.

  • anonymous

    I was a witness of this last night. I think to whom ever sent this video in and on part of fox 13 very disrespectful for the gentlemen family to be posting the video of the actual incident. Let the family be and not post something like this on line.

  • Anonymous

    I left right before the main event when this happened. I feel terrible but I’m glad I didn’t see it because that was right in front of where our group was sitting.

  • Kristie

    Unbelievable Fox13. This is my husband’s relative that was killed and he goes on your website to see you posted a video of him dying! Really? Not what the family needed right now and all for you guys to get ratings. Just lost all respect for Fox13.

    • anonymous

      I agree!!! Fox13 and the jerk who turned the video in owes the Steele family an apology! !!!!!

  • anonymous

    Breaks my heart seeing which judge it was. He seemed like a very kind person. He spoke to me and my friend a few different times in the remaining hours of his life. He kept coming by joking with us because he thought we were texting when we were recording and very humble and kind man. May God bless you and your family through this rough time. Rest In paradise.

  • Thomas metals

    God bless this family accidents happen in life you really never know! let us learn from it. Not try to blame 38 years ago my dad died in this same little town in a tragic sudden accident you just never know what can happen in life at anytime so let’s pray for the family help and saport any way we can and don’t take life for granted cause it really doesn’t matter what we are doing you can have a hart attack folding laundry. So love the ones around you and keep doing things that are fun and make you happy cherish the good memories and never take things for granted.I for one will never foget this 4th of July as I am sure nobody who was their will either and the goodness of the people in these small towns and the people who do this sport which have way bigger harts than wallets just look in the pits! makes me proud to be a red neck. Most of the winners I saw had a tear in their eye glady leaving their winnings wanting to do more for a family they didn’t even know. Going home on fumes and lighter wallets and heavy harts at the same time knowing how many good people we have around us gives me some needed faith in the people of this great country on this 4th of July.

  • anonymous

    This is SO inconsiderate to the family that lost their loved one! I know the family personally and you need to take this video of the crash down!

    RIP Robbie

  • anonymous

    Fox13 and the jerk who gabe you the video, you HAVE to apologize to the Steele family this was such an inconsiderate and disrespectful act on your part!!!! Posting a video of their husband, father, grandfather, brother, and son dying! What the heck were you thinking!?!?!? APOLOGIZE TO THE STEELE FAMILY NOW!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.