The driver of a go-kart which spun out of control and hospitalised two young children is said to be “devastated” over the incident.
A boy and a girl, both aged three, are fighting for their lives in hospital after being hit by the two-seater kart at the ‘Soap Box Derby’ event in Warbleton, near Heathfield, on Bank Holiday Monday.
They sustained serious head injuries after the kart careered into spectators as it raced down a wet, cordoned-off stretch of road.
The girl, from Hailsham, was flown by air ambulance to King's College Hospital in London while the boy, who is believed to be her cousin and is from Herstmonceux, was taken to St George's Hospital in South London.
The driver of the kart has been named locally as Sasha Long, 36, who was among a total of seven people injured in the horror smash.
His 60-year-old mother, who was in the kart with him, is also being treated for injuries in hospital. Mr Long suffered a minor knee injury.
Mr Long’s brother Andy said: “He doesn’t want to talk to anyone at the moment because it Is subject to a police and council investigation.
“He Is devastated obviously, there are young kids in hospital. It happened on a corner, it was wet and the road had wet straw on it.”
Yesterday in Mr Long’s home village of Rushlake Green, half a mile down the road from Warbleton, residents described him as a “really nice guy” who was “absolutely beside himself”.
One resident, who did not want to be named, added: “He’s a father himself and is horrified. He’s a really nice guy. We are all just praying for the children.”
The event was organised by staff at The Black Duck pub and had returned to the village for a third year.
Around 1,000 people turned up to watch the karts race down a half-mile course from the side of the road.
Landlord Nikki Kinnell, who held the race to raise cash for a prostate cancer charity, said she was devastated by the accident.
She said: “Our thoughts are with the children and their families.”
A spokeswoman from Sussex Police said: “Police are no longer investigating this incident. The file is now with Wealden District Council.”
A spokesman from Wealden District Council said the authority was working with police and event organisers to work out what happened.
He added: “It should have been an enjoyable Bank Holiday occasion and our thoughts are with those injured particularly the two young children who sustained serious injuries, and their families.”
Other spectators injured included a 20-year-old woman, a four-year-old boy and a 37-year-old man - all who suffered leg and arm injuries.