Girl dies after being hit by pickup truck as Raleigh Christmas Parade ends tragically

RALEIGH, NC — Raleigh’s Christmas parade was canceled Saturday morning after a tragic turn of events resulted in the death of a girl.

Around 10:25 a.m., the parade was halted as police and medical personnel responded to the intersection of Hillsborough Street and Boylan Avenue.

A girl performing with CC & Company Dance Complex, a group that has performed in the parade before, was struck by an out-of-control pickup truck.

The girl was taken to the hospital, where she died from her injuries. The girl’s name was not released.

Parade goers react after a young girl was hit by a pickup truck in the Raleigh Christmas Parade.  (Photo by Billy Liggett)

Other girls from the dance company could be seen crying as they were hugged by family members.

“We are still in shock as we write these words to you. We are devastated by the events of this morning. We also know that many other young people witnessed this tragedy and it is also difficult to comprehend,” the dance company said in a statement on Saturday. “We never expected to experience a day like today, and the only thing that gets us through is the overwhelming love and support we’ve seen among our CC & Co. Dance family.”

Photo of CC & Company Dance Complex prior to performing in the Raleigh Christmas Parade.
Video taken from the scene shows the truck begin to lose control, speeding up as it sounds its horn. Some people got out of its way, while others ran towards the truck, trying to stop it from running into the parade-goers in front.

Raleigh police said the operator of the vehicle was interviewed, cooperated with detectives and charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, careless recklessness, improper equipment, unsafe movement and carrying a firearm in a parade.

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Eyewitnesses share harrowing details of deadly parade crash

A woman who witnessed the incident spoke to WRAL, describing the chaotic scene:

“The girls kept dancing and then separated very quickly as the truck drove through. There were more dancers outside of that group. I think we all wondered if it was part of a parade. Maybe [the truck] picked up a bit of speed and it kept humming and then there was more chaos. Everyone started to look confused. I don’t know, maybe the fire truck and other first responders helped stop the truck. It is not clear to me if anyone was knocked to the ground.

Witnesses told WRAL News that the driver of the white pickup truck pulling the CC & Co. Dance float, yelled that his brakes were gone and he couldn’t stop. The truck then rammed into the dancers as the adults pushed them out of the way.

“All of a sudden we looked up and saw a truck on the other side of the road coming towards us,” said witness Worth Creech. “They were able to get most of the girls off the road. Unfortunately, we saw one of the girls get run over.”

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Another bystander told WRAL he saw the girl on the ground with a blanket covering her.

Christine Barnes, who watched the scene, said:[The driver] just couldn’t stop. He was lying on the horn, but the girls just couldn’t hear him because of the music and dancing, so the adults tried to get the kids out of the way as quickly as possible.”

“The girls were just hysterical,” Barnes said. “It was really traumatic.”

Medics and police respond to a girl who was hit by a truck at the Raleigh Christmas Parade.  (Submitted photo)

She said the truck came inches from hitting several other girls at the dance performance.

“The truck wasn’t going that fast, but because the girls didn’t realize it was coming, they just couldn’t get out of the way. They were at the mercy of someone else pushing them out of the way,” she said. said.

She said the truck was in a downward spiral, apparently pushed down by the weight of the float behind it.

Some heroic people took action, including Raleigh police and first responders, sprinting behind the truck to try to stop it.

Creech and his 12-year-old son ran with others to try to stop the truck, then he ran back to the victim.

Raleigh Parade Injury

“She was just laying there. People were trying to help her,” Creech said. “Unfortunately there was a lot of blood. Everyone was crying.”

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Weeping parents rushed to the scene from the parade route looking for their children.

WRAL spoke with Marilee Johnson and her daughter Megan shortly after their reunion.

“I was upset, so I was just trying to find out where she was,” Johnson said.

Her daughter added: “We didn’t know what the truck was doing and we didn’t know if we had to move or whatever.”

State, local officials respond to tragic parade crash

Dancers stunned after girl hit by runaway truck in Raleigh Christmas parade

It marked a traumatic end to the 78th annual Raleigh Christmas Parade. The parade lasted about an hour before the crash. Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson had no comment on the case as of 11 a.m

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said: “Today started off with such joy. The parade route was filled with smiling children and it made me so happy to see that. Now we are all devastated by the news of this tragic accident and are praying for the victim and her family. .It’s heartbreaking.

Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted in the hours after the crash: “In what should be a joyous season, a happy day, we instead mourn this family and their friends, keeping them in our prayers.”

Part of Hillsborough Street was closed while police investigated.

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