Sullivan County Democrat
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Contributed Photo

TWO DRIVERS WERE sent to the hospital after this horrific accident on Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway. Mike Merton, at far left, suffered bad bruises and Jimmy Devaux, who is hidden among the horses and carts in the center of the photo, broke his collarbone.

Trouble Hits Race

By John Manzi
MONTICELLO — June 3, 2005 – A terrible accident in the second race at Monticello Raceway on Monday, May 30  involved all eight horses and resulted in the judges declaring the race a “no contest.”
Two of the Mighty M’s leading drivers, Jimmy Devaux and Mike Merton, appeared to sustain the worst injuries in the accident and were taken to local hospitals. After being checked out by doctors at the area medical facilities, it was determined that Devaux had sustained a broken collarbone and that Merton was just badly bruised.
In fact, Merton was scheduled to drive on the Mighty M race card on Tuesday, May 31.
The incident began when Christian Avery, driven by Larry Stalbaum, was on the lead as the field rounded the final turn. Just as he passed the 7/8th pole, Christian Avery fell, catapulting Stalbaum to the ground and  causing a chain reaction among the entire field of horses who were in tight quarters preparing for the stretch drive.
Sabayon Hanover, driven by Dennis Laterza, and Three Finger Brown, who was driven by Mike Forte, managed to somehow avoid falling.
However, the rest of the field was not as lucky. Greg Merton, Gary Messenger and Jacques Primeau were the other drivers involved in the accident. But other than bumps and bruises, they remained unscathed – as did Stalbaum, who drove in later races on Monday afternoon’s card.
None of the horses involved in the scary incident were seriously hurt.

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