RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Police in Raleigh, North Carolina, say they’re investigating a deadly incident involving a parade float hitting a girl who was in the Raleigh Christmas Parade on Saturday.
Police said the preliminary investigation indicated that at 10:14 a.m., the driver of a vehicle in the parade lost control before traveling at a low rate of speed and striking a girl.
The vehicle was occupied by three people and towed a float with several participants.
The child was seriously injured. Police said despite life-saving efforts by medical personnel, the child died from her injuries. No one else was injured during the incident.
The driver of the pickup truck was interviewed, cooperated with detectives and was charged with:
- Misdemeanor death by motor vehicle
- Careless and reckless driving
- Improper equipment
- Unsafe movement
- Carrying a firearm in a parade
The parade stopped while crews responded and had since been canceled, according to CBS 17’s crews at the scene.
Raleigh police, fire trucks and EMS were seen surrounding one of the trucks that was in the parade.
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Before the incident happened, CBS 17’s crews said they heard a truck driver yell that he couldn’t stop because something was wrong with his brakes, and then saw that truck hit somebody.
Afterward, they said they talked to a group of dancers who were crying and said their float was right in front of the scene.
One dancer with CC & Co. Dance Complex, a dance school in Raleigh, said her group was in the parade when a truck started honking and they were pushed out of the way.
She said she was shaking, and one of the moms said she was terrified.
The dance studio released a statement via Facebook on Saturday, reading in part: “We are still in shock as we write these words to you. This morning’s events have devastated us. We also know many of our young ones witnessed this tragedy and that is hard to fathom as well… We never expected to experience a day like today and the only thing getting us through is the tremendous love and support we’ve seen expressed among our CC & Co. Dance family.”
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin released a statement on Twitter following the incident:
“Today started off with such joy. The Raleigh Christmas Parade brings smiles to so many faces. My heart was so full. And now it aches for the young girl hit in a tragic accident on the parade route. Praying for her, her family and our community.”
“Our hearts go out to the family of the victim and those who witnessed this tragic incident,” said the Raleigh Police Department. “The victim’s family has asked for privacy during this very difficult time.”