A girl who was accidentally hit by a truck during the Raleigh Christmas Parade has been identified. There has been a wave of support for 11-year-old Hayley Brooks on social media.
She is a performer at the CC & Company Dance Complex. Police said the crash happened around 10:15 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of Hillsborough Street and Boylan Avenue when the driver said he lost control of the truck. He hit the child at low speed, police said.
Paramedics rushed the child to the hospital, but doctors were unable to save her life. No other march participants were injured. The driver, Landen Christopher Glass, 20, was charged with misdemeanor causing motor vehicle death, careless and reckless driving, improper equipment, unsafe conduct and carrying a firearm at a parade.
Video captured at the scene showed the truck starting to lose control and speeding up while honking its horn. Some moved out of the way while others rushed towards the truck, trying to stop him from crashing into the parade guests ahead.
Witnesses told WRAL News that the driver of the white pickup truck towing the CC & Co. dance float screamed that he had lost his brakes and was unable to stop. The truck then hit the dancers as adults pushed them off the road.
“Suddenly, we looked up and saw a truck coming towards us from across the street,” said witness Worth Creech. “They were able to get most of the girls out. Unfortunately we saw one of the girls get knocked down.”
She said the truck was descending, apparently being pushed downhill by the weight of the swimmer behind it. Deena Francia participated in Saturday’s parade. She didn’t see the crash, but was sitting nearby. “We were all here, having a lot of fun getting ready for the holidays, and then it happened,” Francia said.
Francia laid flowers at the growing memorial on Hillsborough Street on Monday. “I just felt the need to,” Francia said. “I was with my grandchildren, [the dead girl] was 11. My granddaughter was 10.” Tajes Kakade saw what happened along the parade route.
“It’s hard to see,” Kakad said. “It stays with you.” Kakad explained what she would remember. “A lot of moments were repeated,” Kakad said. “You can see what happened to the girl in front of us.” On Monday, Kakad also stopped at the memorial on Hillsborough Street.
“We’re here to get our degrees,” Kakad said. Float company owner: “It’s a miracle that no more people were injured or killed” The Triangle Float company in Franklinton had 37 floats in Saturday’s parade. However, company owner Mark Harris said his car was not involved in Saturday’s incident.
Harris doesn’t believe there is a rule that would prevent all tragedies. He didn’t want to belittle another company because he said it could happen to him. “I really think it’s a miracle that no more people were injured or killed,” said Harris, who monitors his company’s vehicles and drivers, however. He hired them, made sure they were registered, and their vehicles were registered and inspected.