Zionsville Times Sentinel

July 10, 2013

Lebanon teen injured in parade

By Rod Rose For the Times Sentinel
Zionsville Times Sentinel

---- — Lebanon — Cameron Wilson, 14, Lebanon, was in Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, with internal injuries suffered Thursday when he fell from and was run over by a Fourth of July parade float.

Wilson was in good condition, a public relations spokesman for Riley said at noon.

Wilson was riding on the Lebanon Youth Football League’s entry, built on a flatbed farm wagon and towed by a pickup, as it entered the Lebanon Middle School parking lot after the parade.

Wilson fell off, for reasons yet undetermined. At least one tire of the wagon ran over Wilson’s chest and abdomen, Lebanon Police Lt. Brent Wheat said.

Also injured were Amy Coffman, 39, and Caiden Coffman, 11, who also fell from the float. They were taken to Witham Memorial Hospital by Boone County EMS; they were treated for injuries and released from the hospital.

The truck pulling the float was driven by a 15-year-old who has a learner’s permit, and a parent was with him, Wheat said. Their identities were being withheld because the accident is under investigation, Wheat said. Police are reviewing whether the 15-year-old was in violation of learner’s permit conditions, Wheat said.

The parade route ended at the intersection of Grant Street and Essex Drive, parade chairwoman Jennifer Hoffman said. From there, parade units had the option of turning right, dispersing onto city streets, or turning left, back to the marshaling area at Lebanon Middle School, she said.

Rick Parsons, a paramedic and Boone County reserve deputy who was helping with crowd control, saw the accident, Wheat said.

“He immediately realized it was more serious that it appeared, and began aggressive treatment immediately,” Wheat said. Parsons notified the Boone County Dispatch Center, and initiated the mass casualty protocols called for under the Fourth of July operations plan, Wheat said.

“We are hoping everything is going well and he will recover,” Hoffman said. “The Fourth of July committee’s thoughts and prayers go out to the young man.”

Det.-Sgt. Tony Bayles interviewed the young driver Friday at Riley, Wheat said, and Lebanon Police Officer Brian Spencer was investigating the accident.

Police were sorting through witness statements, Wheat said Friday afternoon.

“We’ve got multiple reports,” Wheat said. “We’re trying to match them all up and figure out what happened.”

One aspect of the investigation will be to determine “if some action by the driver, or some action by the passengers, caused this,” Wheat said.

It is too early to determine if any criminal charges might be filed.

“When the investigation is concluded, Spencer will determine if it needs to be reviewed by the prosecutor’s office,” he said. Filing of charges would be up to the prosecutor’s office.

“Given that a young man was seriously injured at an event that is attended by a lot of the community, and is very important to the community, we want to make sure we conduct a thorough investigation,” Wheat said.

It is believed to be the first injury associated with the parade in at least a decade, Wheat said.

“In 10 years of doing the operational planning, to my knowledge we have not had a direct injury related to the parade,” he said.

In an unrelated incident, a juvenile participating in the parade suffered a leg injury; further details were unavailable, Wheat said. The accidents spoiled what had been a nearly perfect event.

At least 100 units, and possibly more, were in the parade, Hoffman said.

“We had people show up the morning of the parade,” she said.

“I think we had one of the biggest turnouts ever,” Hoffman said.