Pictured: Owner of car involved in 'rogue race' crash that injured 17

Sunita Patel-Carstairs, news reporter

The owner of one of the cars involved in a "rogue race" crash that injured 17 people in Stevenage has been named.

Julian Castano, 22, is understood to own the blue Nissan 350Z that was involved in the incident on Thursday, but police have not confirmed who was driving the vehicle at the time.

However, officers have identified and interviewed the drivers of the two cars involved.

A crowd had gathered for a Cruise Herts car meet, which has been running for 17 years, and the collision left some onlookers seriously hurt.

Organisers of the event said they had urged participants to stay off the roads, but "some people went a bit rogue".

One witness described seeing bystanders "panicking, screaming" as the crash happened at about 9.45pm.

The meets, which appear to be a weekly event at a retail car park in the town, are billed as a "strictly static" event, meaning vehicles are supposed to remain parked.

Drivers are allowed to rev their engines and show off the modifications they have made, but footage from Thursday showed cars speeding just metres from gathered crowds on a road.

Many of those in attendance, young people in particular, had their phones out to film what was happening.

Sky News reporter Katerina Vittozzi, who went to the scene, said: "Organisers told me that some of the people that showed up were not regular attendees and decided to go to a road outside of the car park and start racing."

As people lined Monkswood Way - a single-carriageway of section of A-road in a non-residential area - two vehicles collided before careering into bystanders, with at least one speeding.

Video shows one car turning left onto the section from a side road, when another - the blue Nissan 350Z - speeds past and clips the slower vehicle, sending both veering off in opposite directions.

Crowds were standing at the side of the road and on the central reservation before the crash.

Witness Ciaran O'Connor, who lives in the area and said he was being driven home by a friend, described a scene of fear and shock.

He told Sky News: "We saw all these people standing on the road. Then, we came round and saw the car going straight into these kids who were standing by the side of the road.

"Everyone was panicking, screaming, there were a lot of kids there, loads of teens actually, about 16, 17, 18 years old.

"Everyone was screaming and just shocked. I felt so sorry for the kids who had to see it.

"There were so many of them there."

Mr O'Connor said he saw people "badly injured" and that police arrived at the scene within five minutes of the crash.

Organiser Rix Sidhu said he felt "sick" afterwards. "To see people on the floor not able to move, it wasn't a nice sight."

He said: "We are devastated. 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.

"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 added: "But we've decided we're not going to run these any more. After 17 years, it's over."

Mr Sidhu said events are normally staged in cooperation with the police.

Chief Inspector Alicia Shaw said officers were unaware of this particular "large-scale gathering", but officers responded within minutes of the collision being reported.

"Previous incidents have been smaller," she said.

"These meets gather around the county and social media forms part of that. What I would say is not to attend these type of events and I think last night shows what could happen when you've got such large numbers in the road and cars perhaps committing offences."

She did not say whether any of those hurt are under the age of 18.

The area where the crash happened reopened on Friday after emergency services had left the scene with all police tape and debris cleared away.

The only sign of the incident were police road markings showing the points at which the cars collided and ended up crashing into the crowd.

More than 130 witnesses have been identified since the crash and police said they are working to contact each of them to obtain their statements.

A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service said the injured had been taken to three hospitals - the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Watford General Hospital and the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.

An air ambulance attended the crash and emergency services remained on site late into the night.

:: Police have appealed for witnesses and urged anyone with footage of the incident to email it to optephra@herts.pnn.police.uk