Fourth of July weekend is what most regard as a time of fireworks, grilling, and general celebration. Most people are familiar with the common warnings that appear around this time of year, urging caution when using fireworks. Similarly, most people are familiar with the news stories that inevitably pop up on the fifth of July that recall the accounts of those who did not heed such warnings. The town of Edmond, Oklahoma, however, was not rocked to the core on account of fireworks, but rather a freak accident during a celebratory parade.
Liberty Fest, the town parade held in celebration of independence day, included a large variety of floats, vintage cars, and other attractions. According to the Liberty Fest website, the parade is a pinnacle of popularity, reeling in over 125,000 spectators annually. The event prides itself on being the "best and safest" 4th of July event for families in Edmond, and is produced by about 500 volunteers.
The family friendly event took a turn for the worst this year, however, when an 8-year-old boy fell off of a float representing a local martial arts academy. The child was on the float with about twenty other students from the academy, who witnessed their peer being run over by the float. A nurse in the car behind the float allegedly administered CPR to the child, and the boy is said to have had a pulse while he was loaded on to the ambulance. Sadly, he was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
Police officer James Hamm says in a report with the Huffington Post that the driver of the float, who is also the father of the victim, is not expected to face charges. The officer was quoted as saying "It [was] just a freak, unfortunate accident." The father was not interviewed immediately, but is expected to be questioned today.
This writer's thoughts go out to the families and people effected by this tragic event, especially on a day meant to be full of joy and celebration.