A crash between two cars at a ‘cruise’ event in Stevenage has left 17 people injured, some seriously.
The two cars were involved in a collision on Monkswood Way in the town at about 9.45pm on Thursday during what was described on social media as a car cruise event.
Video footage shows one car appearing to try to pull on to the road as another passes at speed, with the pair then colliding and reportedly ploughing into crowds watching the event.
Hertfordshire Police initially said 17 people had been injured, but the force was not aware of any fatalities.
Witnesses described seeing horrifying scenes following the collision.
One said on Twitter: "I've just witnessed that horrendous crash in #Stevenage, no more than 50ft away from me. I'm still trying to process it all."
Ciaran O Connor wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts & prayers are with all those poor kids who were struck by a car tonight in Stevenage at the car meet.
“Literally never seen a scene like it. Kids lying in the road everywhere.”
A group called Cruise-Herts had said on Facebook that it was holding a car meet event on Thursday to raise money for a charity supporting bereaved parents.
Organiser Rix Sidhu said the event had been running regularly for 17 years, providing a "safe space" for car enthusiasts to meet in a controlled, closed environment.
He said the aim is to meet in a car park and they urge people not to race on roads or do anything to risk injury.
He said the crash involved a Nissan 350Z and a Toyota GT86.
Speaking to the Press Association, he said: "We saw the car (Toyota) come into the car park and recklessly do a donut manoeuvre.
"It pulled out of the car park on to the main road and then it was hit by the Nissan, which was coming at speed. I'd say at least 60 or 70mph.
"I was walking down the main road to meet up with some friends and then I saw it happen.
"The cars collided and then went into the crowd at speed. There were several younger people in the crowd, but they weren't kids. They were about 18 years old-plus."
My thoughts & prayers are with all those poor kids who were struck by a car tonight in Stevenage at the car meet. Literally never seen a scene like it. Kids lying in the road everywhere😢😢missed it by about 10secs as was just turning round the roundabout @StevenageFC @thecomet24— Ciaran O Connor (@CiaranMusic) July 18, 2019
Describing the crash as “horrific”, Mr Sidhu said organisers are first-aid trained and members of the public had helped get them to those who were injured.
"There was one woman who couldn't walk, we had to get four of us to carry her to safety.”
He said organisers had been left “devastated” by the incident.
“I've been running this for 10 years and we have never had one incident.
"We were raising money for charity, as we often do, and there was no speed element to it.
"We held the meet in a car park with a speed bump at the entrance. But unfortunately some people went a bit rogue.
"We try and stop that, we urge people - urge them on social media beforehand - not to go out on the roads, not to risk injury or anything.
"But unfortunately, in this age of social media and Snapchat, people want to get footage and post things to their friends, which seems to drive some people to the main road."
Mr Sidhu added: "We have a liaison officer to pass number plates to police if there is ever any trouble; we try to make it as safe as possible.
"Some people like drinking and that sort of thing, we just like cars. They are our pride and joy, what we are interested in.
"Unfortunately this incident means we are all going to be tarred with the same brush - people will say we are boy racers."
He said he was thankful nobody had died, adding: Nobody wanted this, we try so hard to make sure this doesn't happen, we beg people not to race on the roads - if they want to race, there are places they can go for that, tracks where they can go at speed.
"But we've decided we're not going to run these any more. After 17 years, it's over."