A member of a males’s refrain group unintentionally hit his fellow members at a Pride parade in South Florida Saturday, killing one chorist of the group and seriously injuring another, authorities mentioned.
Wilton Manors Vice Mayor Paul Rolli and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis mentioned the early investigation reveals it was an accident. The driver, 77, was taken into custody, however police mentioned no prices have been filed and the investigation is ongoing.
He had been driving ahead in anticipation for the beginning of the parade when the car accelerated unexpectedly, placing the two, Fort Lauderdale police said in a news release. He is cooperating with police, who say it’s unlikely medication or alcohol was concerned. No arrests have been made.
The survivor was anticipated to get better, police mentioned.
The “unfortunate accident” was first confirmed, together with the truth that the driver is a member of the 25 member Gay Men’s Chorus household, by President Justin Knight.
“Our fellow Chorus members were those injured and the driver is also a part of the Chorus family. To my knowledge, this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community,” Knight mentioned in an announcement despatched to the Associated Press, dispelling preliminary hypothesis of a hate crime.
Joey Spears, 25, advised USA TODAY Saturday, that he was strolling as much as the beginning of the parade when he noticed the truck drive via the group.
“All of a sudden I see this truck peel out and just going through the people,” Spears mentioned.
Spears captured video of the aftermath that confirmed an individual on the bottom. Spears mentioned he and the folks he was with have been cornered off by police at a neighborhood highschool car parking zone for about an hour earlier than they have been allowed to go away the world. That’s after they began marching.
The Wilton Manors Pride occasion is held yearly in June, in response to the occasion’s web site. The city is a metropolis in Broward County with a inhabitants of about 13,000, in response to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Trantalis, who’s Fort Lauderdale’s first brazenly homosexual mayor, initially advised reporters the act was deliberate, including to the confusion Saturday night time.
“It terrorized me and all around me … I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away,” he mentioned in a Twitter assertion Sunday. “As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control.”
Photos and video from the scene confirmed Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in tears whereas in a convertible on the parade.
In an announcement Saturday night time, Wasserman Schultz mentioned she was protected however “deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost.”
“I am so heartbroken by what took place at this celebration,” she mentioned. “May the memory of the life lost be for a blessing.”
A spokesman for the refrain mentioned the director didn’t wish to give interviews, including that many members of the small group witnessed the deadly crash and have been deeply shaken.
“The reason people like Wilton Manors is the whole community is one big family and that’s how we treat each other … and this has really rattled a lot of people,” mentioned Rolli. “Even if it’s an accident, just the loss of a life.”
Contributing: Grace Hauck, USA TODAY; Associated Press