Lori Fullbright, News On 6
UNDATED -- The man who founded Hallett Motor Speedway, west of Tulsa, is back in Oklahoma after a terrible accident.
Published reports say Anatoly Arutunoff was on his way to a car show in Vegas Tuesday when he stopped to help a driver stuck in the snow near Amarillo, Texas.
They say another car slammed into him and then sped off. The crash amputated his right leg and shattered his left.
Anatoly's wife Karen, tells me she's isn't sure about the facts of the crash because her husband is still in and out consciousness.
He is considered by many to be a legend in the car collecting and vintage car racing world. He claims his first word was car and says his parents lied for him so he could get his driver's license at age 15.
That fueled a life long love of racing unique cars all over the world. People we've talked to say Anatoly is a gentleman and a real character with a boisterous sense of humor.
He was born in Russia. After his father invented a specialized pump that made the family millions, they immigrated to America, first to LA, then to Oklahoma.
He began racing in 1957 and raced with the likes of Richie Ginther, Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby back in the day.
News On 6 found pictures of him at race events all over the world. Published articles say he raced on just about every road race circuit in the U.S. and many in Europe.
He owns some of the most unique cars ever created. In 1976, Anatoly built his own racetrack, Hallet Motor Speedway, 35 miles west of Tulsa.
Enthusiasts say it's a technically difficult 1.8 mile, 10-turn road racing course that's hosted both professional or amateur auto and motorcycle racing events.
Anatoly's wife Karen has been posting information on her Facebook page.
She said Anatoly is now in the hands of some of Oklahoma's best orthopedic trauma surgeons, and among them are the premier prosthesis doctor and Olympic team doctor, so they have high hopes for his recovery.
Friends say Karen and Anatoly's tremendous faith will get them through this. Karen says she believes they've already experienced one miracle.
She learned Anatoly's main artery was severed during the crash and he should've died in 3 1/2 minutes, but she says thanks to the bitter cold and God's grace, the artery closed on its own, which saved his life out on that highway.