RALEIGH, N.C. – An 11-year girl died after she was struck by a pickup truck towing a float during a Christmas parade in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday, authorities said. The 20-year-old driver of the pickup is in custody.
According to the Raleigh Police Department, Landen Christopher Glass, 20, of Raleigh, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, careless and reckless driving, improper equipment, unsafe movement, and carrying a firearm in a parade, WRAL-TV reported. A family member told the television station that Glass will not be making a statement.
Update 5:55 p.m. EST Nov. 20: Landen Christopher Glass, the man accused of fatally striking the girl with his pickup truck, was released after posting bail on Sunday, WRAL-TV reported. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 26, 2023, according to the television station.
Original report: The girl, who has not been identified, was a member of CC & Company Dance Complex, a dance school in Raleigh, The News & Observer newspaper reported.
Christy Curtis, the owner of CC & Company Dance Complex, released a statement Saturday evening, according to WTVD.
“We are devastated. Our dance family is a close-knit group and today our hearts are broken,” Curtis wrote. “We are working closely with authorities as they determine what happened and why.”
According to the Raleigh Police Department, the accident occurred at about 10:14 a.m. EST during the 78th annual Christmas parade in Raleigh, WTVD reported.
Police said that the driver, later identified as Glass, said he lost control of the truck and hit the child at a low rate of speed, according to the television station. The truck, a GMC Denali, was pulling one of two CC & Company floats when it went out of control, according to WTVD. The driver was honking his horn and yelling at people to get out of the way, the television station reported.
“I just saw them coming down the street really fast and you can tell it was not like gas, like they weren’t gassing, it was rolling, kind of rolling down the street, Melissa Stephens, who attended the parade, told WTVD. “They were freaking out, yelling at people (to) get out (of) the way, like you can tell they were panicking.”
No other parade participants were injured, according to WTVD. The parade was canceled after the incident.
CC & Company had two floats in the parade, with members of the company performing in between them, The News & Observer reported. The truck pulling the second float was the vehicle that went out of control, according to the newspaper.
“We started dancing in the parade, and then all of a sudden, we just heard a lot of honking,” Olivia Bruce, 14, a member of the dance troupe, told the News & Observer. “And when we turned back, we saw the truck almost on our backs, so we turned away.
“The truck just kept going faster and then it stopped and someone was laid out on the ground. It was pretty close (to me). I moved out in seconds — almost got hit, too.”
Posts on Glass’ Instagram profile showed him participating in dance competitions representing CC & Company, WRAL reported. It is unclear what capacity he is affiliated with the company as of this year.
Police were inspecting the truck after the incident but have not released any information, the News & Observer reported.
“Today started with such joy,” Baldwin said in a statement. “The parade route was packed with smiling kids and it made my heart so happy to see. Now we are all devastated by the news of this tragic accident and praying for the victim and her family. It is heartbreaking.”
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