A reveller has died after a truck plowed through participants at a Florida Pride parade in what police confirmed was a tragic accident and not an intentional act.
The annual Stonewall Pride parade in Wilton Manors in South Florida was about to begin on Saturday evening when the smash occurred.
The driver of a pickup truck “accelerated unexpectedly” after hearing he was next in the parade, crashing into the victims.
One person died and another suffered serious injuries.
The driver veered across multiple lanes of traffic, ultimately crashing into a fence on the other side of the street, police said.
Police said the 77-year-old driver suffers from difficulties walking. They said there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol.
Officers took him into custody and said he was cooperating with the investigation.
The second man hit by the vehicle is still in hospital but his injuries aren’t life-threatening, police said.
Wilton Manors Police Chief Gary Blocker said the “incident was a tragic accident, and not a criminal act directed at anyone, or any group of individuals.”
The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus confirmed the driver and the victims are all members of the group.
The group’s President Justin Knight confirmed the tragedy was “an unfortunate accident.”
“Our fellow Chorus members were those injured and the driver is also a part of the Chorus family,” he said.
“To my knowledge, this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community.”
Mayor witnessed the truck smash at pride parade in South Florida
Fort Lauderdale mayor Dean Trantalis, who is gay, initially caused confusion after telling media the act was deliberate.
He later recalled witnessing the “horrifying” scene and described his fear for his community’s safety at the time.
“It terrorised me and all around me… I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away,” he said.
“Law enforcement took what appeared obvious to me and others nearby and investigated further, as is their job.
“As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control.
“As a result, one man died, two others were injured and the lives of two members of Congress were at risk.
“My heart breaks for all impacted by this tragedy.”
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