An Independence Day celebration turns tragic, after a young boy dies during the Libertyfest Parade. Fox 25's Kisha Henry shows us how the celebration quickly took a somber tone.
"Just a few minutes before 11 o'clock, the Libertyfest Parade was coming to an end," says Officer James Hamm, with the Edmond Police Department. It was at the end of that parade that an eight-year-old boy somehow ended up off of the float he was riding. "We've spoken with many witnesses who were out here. Some of them have said, in their opinion, he fell off. Some say, it looks like he may have just gotten off on his own," says Officer Hamm. It happened near Ayers and Baumann.
Edmond Police are still investigating, but they say the float was a tractor trailer representing ATA Karate & Life Skills in Edmond. No one from the center was available to speak, but officers say before the young boy could get up, the trailer hit him. "Whenever that traffic started moving again, that tractor trailer started going forward and caught the little boy. He went underneath the trailer and was ran over," says Officer Hamm.
"The parade float driver... they can't see everything," says Joshua Gunner, a parent who was also participating in Thursday's festivities with his family. He says he'll be holding his daughter, Bella, extra close tonight. "That is horrible. I couldn't imagine ever losing my daughter. That would be devastating to me," he sympathizes.
Edmond Police say Libertyfest has strict regulations. "Whether you're walking, driving a float, whatever- they have guidelines you have to follow. And, none of those guidelines were violated," says Officer Hamm. "It was bumper-to-bumper traffic. The tractor trailer was at a very slow speed," he explains. He says the driver will not be charged in the accident, because it was exactly that-- an accident. "I feel sorry for the family that came out here to celebrate the 4th of July. Obviously, their world is turned upside down now," says Officer Hamm.
The little boy was taken to the hospital, where he died. Edmond Police are not releasing his name until their investigation is complete.