Man claims car accident caused by Rush Hour Balloon Race


by Michelle Arnold

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 27 at 6:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- According to Mike Rogers, the Rush-Hour Balloon Race caused his son David to get into a car accident on the Gene Snyder.

“He said all of a sudden everything just stopped and the guy in front of him slammed his brakes," said Rogers.  "He ran into him and the reason for him running into him was he said that the balloon race was flying over and he thought they were about to land on the highway."

The balloons were in fact landing in a field nearby.

We asked Kentucky Derby Festival Balloon Meister George Troutman if the balloons were flying at a safe distance from the ground.

“The altitude where they can be as low as 75 feet above the ground,” said Troutman.

Troutman says he monitored this morning's race along with the Federal Aviation Administration.

“I was in the helicopter and I saw no one violate any altitude restrictions,” said Troutman.

The Louisville Metro Police Department gave us a statement saying, “the balloons may have been a contributing factor, but they were not the sole reason for the accident."

“I could see where someone would be looking up and be distracted from what was going on in front of them and I guess that would be called an accident, but I don't think you could toss any blame on a balloonist,” said Troutman.

Mike Rogers says the distraction overhead is what landed his son in the hospital with a totaled car.

“People can't help but look around and look at this and look at that. They are on cell phones, they're doing everything else,” said Rogers.