A day after a fatal highway drag racing crash, a pair of local television live trucks were caught on video in their own race at a local drag strip.
The El Paso stations, KDBC-TV and KVIA-TV, were at the legal drag racing strip Friday night when a crowd of onlookers apparently convinced a pair of photographers and a part-time anchorman to race.
Charlie Bernal, a 25-year-old photographer for KDBC, said he was fired Tuesday after his bosses saw the race on the video sharing Web site YouTube.
“I knew what I was doing and figured, if someone gets wind of this I’m in a world of crap,” Bernal said. He added that he didn’t regret his decision to race the station’s only live truck but wouldn’t do it again. KDBC general manager Bram Watkins declined to comment on the incident.
Kevin Lovell, KVIA’s general manager, said photographer Richie Zamora and part-time anchor Rick Cabrera were preparing a story about the legal drag racing site when they made an “impromptu decision” to race the competing station’s vehicle.
“They had the crowd gathered, giggling,” Lovell said. “It was a stupid thing to do. They weren’t thinking.”
Lovell said Cabrera, who was set to take over as a full-time anchor in May when longtime broadcaster Gary Warner retires, and Zamora are likely to face disciplinary action but won’t be fired. “There will be no terminations at KVIA,” Lovell said.
Cabrera said Wednesday he regretted the incident and should have used his position to halt the race.
“I made a big mistake and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Cabrera said. “In hindsight, I can certainly see the error of our ways.”
A video of the race, posted on YouTube, shows the trucks inching to the starting line as a crowd of onlookers cheers them on. As the trucks start racing, one man not seen on the video can be heard commenting that “every cell phone is out” filming the race.
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