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Ramage Is Charged in Fatal Car Crash

December 17, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Retired NHL defenseman Rob Ramage was charged Tuesday in the three-car crash that killed Keith Magnuson, a former player and coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Magnuson, 56, was a passenger in the car Ramage was driving Monday night. They were returning from a funeral in suburban Toronto when their vehicle crossed into the oncoming lane and struck an SUV, which was then hit by another car, police said.

Magnuson died at the scene. Ramage, a former Toronto Maple Leaf captain, was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery for a dislocated hip, said York police spokeswoman Kathleen Griffin.

A woman in another vehicle had non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Ramage, 44, was charged with impaired driving causing death, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, police said. Later Tuesday, a charge of dangerous driving causing death was added.

Police said they were awaiting results from blood tests before deciding whether to upgrade the charges to drunk driving.

Ramage and Magnuson had been at the funeral of Keith McCreary, the NHL's alumni association chair who died last week of cancer.

Magnuson was a rugged defenseman for the Blackhawks from 1969-80 and coached the team for 1 1/2 seasons. He played in 589 games over 11 seasons, all with Chicago.

Ramage played in the NHL from 1979-94, totaling 139 goals at 425 assists. He captained the Maple Leafs for three seasons (1989-91).

He also played for Colorado, St. Louis, Calgary, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Montreal and Philadelphia.

Auto Racing

Championship Auto Racing Teams, an organizer of auto-racing events, said it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and agreed to sell assets to a group of investors for about $1.5 million, the Indianapolis-based company said in an e-mailed press release.

Open Wheel Racing Series LLC had agreed in September to acquire Championship Auto, or CART, for about $8.2 million. CART said early this month terms of the takeover would likely fall through.

Open Wheel, whose investors include some CART team owners, is acquiring assets that include promoter and sponsor contracts, Indianapolis-based CART said. CART said its Chapter 11 filing will include a motion asking U.S. Bankruptcy Court to approve the asset sale.

The filing could come as early as today, CART said.

The agreement with Open Wheel is "another step in a process that leads to a 2004 season" for the racing series, said Eric Mauk, a spokesman for CART. "By no means does it lock anything up."

CART provided the bulk of teams competing at the Indianapolis 500 from 1979 through 1995. The privately held Indianapolis Motor Speedway began its own series, the Indy Racing League, in 1996. CART sponsors, teams and drivers have switched to the Indy Racing League the past two years, including team owner Roger Penske and Michael Andretti, formerly a driver and now a team owner.

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Bryan Herta will return to Andretti Green Racing as the team's fourth driver for the 2004 IRL season.

Herta started 11 races this year in place of the injured Dario Franchitti.

Herta made his Indy Racing League debut with Andretti Green Racing in June at Texas Motor Speedway. He won the Indy 300 in Kansas City, Kan., in July and recorded six top-five finishes.

He is a veteran of the CART series, with wins at Laguna Seca in 1998 and 1999 and 22 top-five finishes.

Herta, 33, replaced Franchitti after he was hurt in a motorcycle accident on a visit home to Scotland in April. Franchitti returned for the Pikes Peak race in June but had back surgery the next month.

Miscellany

Mahyar Monshipour of France stopped Jairo Tagliaffero of Venezuela to defend his WBA super-bantamweight title in Paris.

Tagliaffero quit at the start of the eighth round. It was Monshipour's first title defense since he knocked out countryman Salim Medjkoune in July to win the belt. Monshipour is 24-2-2.

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Norwegians dominated World Cup cross-country sprints, with victories by Jens Arne Svartedal and Marit Bjoergen in Passo Di Lavaze, Italy.

Svartedal edged teammate Jon Kristian Dahl, Estonia's Andrus Veerpalu and Norway's Eldar Roenning in the four-man 1,500-meter Final A. Veerpalu was coming off a World Cup victory in a 15K classical style race Saturday in Switzerland.

Passings

Jim Phillippe, a longtime public address announcer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has died after a long illness. He was 84. Beginning with the 1950 Indianapolis 500, Phillippe announced every race at the speedway until August's Brickyard 400.

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