May 20, 2013

Car Drives Into Crowd At Virginia Parade, 60 Hurt

Car Drives Into Crowd At Virginia Parade, 60 Hurt
Up to 60 people were injured when a car drove into a parade in a small Virginia mountain town.

Witnesses immediately ran over to lift up the 1997 Cadillac to help free a woman trapped underneath it.

Three of those hurt were airlifted to hospital by helicopter. Another 12 to 15 were taken by ambulance and the rest were treated at the scene by paramedics.

Washington County director of emergency management Pokey Harris said no fatalities had been reported and that the injuries ranged from critical to superficial.

Witnesses described the driver of the car as an elderly man and said the vehicle had a disabled parking sticker on it.

What caused the car to drive into the crowd was not immediately known.

An investigation has been launched and it is thought the motorist may have suffered a medical emergency before the accident, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.

It happened around 2.30pm local time during the Hikers Parade at the Trail Days festival - an annual celebration of the Appalachian Trail in the hamlet of Damascus, near the Tennessee border.

The car emerged from a side street, and a thud could be heard. People yelled at the driver to stop, and the car travelled for around another 30 metres (100ft) before coming to a halt.

"He was hitting hikers," said Vickie Harmon, a witness from Damascus. "I saw hikers just go everywhere."

Damascus resident Amanda Puckett, who was watching the parade with her children, was one of those who ran over to help lift up the car off those pinned underneath.

"Everybody just threw our hands up on the car and we just lifted the car up," she said.