Australian drag-racing driver Troy Critchley, who was the centre of a media furore recently following the death of six spectators at a charity motoring event in the U.S., will avoid incarceration following consent from the victims' families to lower felony criminal charges to misdemeanor assault charges.

The incident in question took place in the state of Tennessee in June of last year at a charity event. Critchley was attempting to do a burnout and lost control midway of his high-powered Corvette, sending it into the crowd and killing six young spectators and injuring a further 22 people.

Originally, Critchley was charged with six counts of felony vehicular homicide and 22 counts of reckless aggravated assault, but those charges have been dropped in favour of 28 misdemeanor counts of reckless simple assault - reducing a possible 90-year prison term, if convicted and sentenced, to just 18 months of probation and a one-year suspended sentence.

While Critchley may have avoided incarceration, the drop in charges means that he no longer faces deportation to Australia, making him a much easier target for a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit being brought forward by the families of the victims, reports The Australian. The $100 million lawsuit has been filed against Critchley, the owners of Critchley's racing team, sponsors of the event and officials of the city of Selmer, where the event was held.

The reduction in criminal charges means that Critchley can stay in the U.S. and continue drag-racing, although he has previously stated that he has no plans to get behind the wheel in competition.