ust before a July Fourth parade was to start, two horses harnessed together and pulling a wagon bolted down seven blocks in Bellevue, Iowa, killing one and injuring 23. The horses ran amok after one rubbed the bridle off the other. The horses trampled parade spectators, according to The Des Moines Register.
The horses were pulling a wagon with 60-year-old Janet Steines in it. When the horses took off, the wagon flipped over, leaving Steines with multiple injuries, reported Iowan media Gazetteonline.com. She died from her injuries at the University of Iowa Hospital, and funeral plans are pending, according to Hachmann Funeral Home and Cremation Service.
Firefighters said those who suffered injuries from the incident range in age from 2 to 62. Children were collecting candy by the parade route when the horses broke loose. Some children were badly hurt.
Bellevue Fire Chief Chris Roling told The Register how the horses were finally stopped: “One of the people ahead of this horse unit heard the people hollering and screaming. He pulled his antique haybine out there to kind of slow them down. They ran into that, then they ran into a street sign and into the side of a van before they got them stopped.”
Fifteen ambulances brought the victims to hospitals in nearby cities Dubuque and Maquoketa. Paramedics treated victims in an art gallery near the parade route, while a triage area was set up near the Mississippi River, where volunteers helped shield paramedics and victims from the heat with tarps. Witness Sandie Crilly said, “It was madness. I mean, we were in a triage. The town really came together. It was a huge community effort,” reported The Register.
In the parade’s long history, nothing like this had ever happened. Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said in a statement released on Sunday, “My thoughts and prayers are with the town of Bellevue and those injured at today’s Fourth of July parade. I am especially saddened because the accident occurred during the events celebrating Independence Day, which is a day that should be filled with pride and joy for all Iowans and Americans. … In addition, I want to thank the spectators who assisted the injured and the emergency responders who quickly provided medical care.”