RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A truck pulling a float for a holiday parade in North Carolina crashed Saturday, striking and killing a girl participating in the event, news outlets reported.
The driver who lost control of the vehicle and struck the child was arrested and charged with reckless driving and other offenses, the Raleigh Police Department said in a news release. Police identified the driver as Landen Christopher Glass, 20.
Witnesses to television stations that people attending the Raleigh Christmas Parade heard the pickup truck’s driver screaming that he had lost control of the vehicle and couldn’t stop it before the crash.
The girl struck by the truck was part of a dance troupe participating in the holiday parade, local news services reported.
Olivia Bruce, a 14-year-old member of the dance troupe, told the newspaper that the truck almost hit her, too.
“We started dancing in the parade, and then all of a sudden, we just heard a lot of honking. And when we turned back, we saw the truck almost on our backs, so we turned away,” Bruce said.
An eyewitness, Christine Barnes, told WRAL-TV that girls in the dance troupe couldn’t hear the driver honking the truck’s horn over the music playing. Adults were scrambling to get the children out of the truck’s path, she added.
“The girls were just hysterical,” Barnes said. “It was really traumatizing.”
Barnes said the truck came within inches of hitting several other girls.
“The truck wasn’t going that fast, but because the girls had no idea it was coming, they just couldn’t get out of the way.” she said.
Nobody else at the parade was injured in the collision.
The parade was cancelled after the crash. Police advised drivers and pedestrians to avoid the area.
Glass was one of three people in the vehicle towing the float at a low rate of speed, police said.
Investigators interviewed Glass, who was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, careless and reckless driving, using improper equipment, unsafe movement, and carrying a firearm in a parade.
The names and age of the girl wasn’t immediately released.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the victim and those who witnessed this tragic incident,” police said.
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin expressed her condolences for the girl’s family and friends.
“Today started off with such joy.,” the mayor tweeted. “My heart was so full. And now it aches for the young girl hit in a tragic accident on the parade route.”