Young dance troupe member dies after being hit by truck during Raleigh Christmas Parade | Nation

RALEIGH, NC — A girl who was part of a dance troupe participating in the Raleigh Christmas Parade died Saturday when she was hit by a pickup truck towing one of the troupe’s floats.

The parade was canceled immediately after the incident.

Two sources confirmed the girl’s death at the N&O. The Raleigh Police Department later said in a press release attributed to Lt. Jason Borneo that the girl had died. The RPD added that the truck driver was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, careless and reckless driving, improper equipment, dangerous movement and carrying a firearm in a parade.

The girl, who has not been identified, was a member of the CC & Company Dance Complex, a highly respected dance school in Raleigh. Christy Curtis, founder of CC & Co., was one of the first dance teachers for Ariana DeBose, who won an Oscar for her performance in “West Side Story.”

The truck, a GMC Denali, was pulling one of CC & Company’s two floats when it spun out of control, according to The News & Observer’s newsgathering partner ABC11. ABC11 said the driver honked his horn and yelled at people to pull over.

Onlookers heard screams before a group of people rushed down the street and managed to stop the truck by hand.

Police were inspecting the truck after the incident, but had not released any information about any mechanical failures. We thought the truck’s brakes had failed.

CC & Company had two floats in the parade, with company members playing between them, when the truck pulling the second float went out of control.

Olivia Bruce, 14, a member of the dance troupe, said: “We started dancing in the parade and then all of a sudden we just heard a lot of honking. And when we turned around, we saw the truck almost on our back, so we turned back.

“The truck just kept going faster,” Olivia said, “then it stopped and someone was lying on the ground. It was pretty close (to me). I moved in a few seconds – I almost got hit too.

Troupe members, still dressed in neon green dance studio shirts, and their parents gathered in and around the Hillyer Memorial Christian Church on Hillsborough Street.

Cheyenne Hamilton, 17, a senior at Enloe Magnet High School, has been dancing for nearly 13 years.

“We had just started the parade. The dancers were in the middle of the two floats (CC & Company). The float behind us, their brakes started to fail. And they were trying to get us all out of the way. But unfortunately, one of the dancers couldn’t move away. They took out (the dancer) right in front of us…”

Along the parade route, hundreds of performers hastily turned and retreated, packing paper clips and deflating balloons.

The mood immediately turned from green and red to black as news of the accident spread. People practicing Irish dance steps, twirling batons, tuning horns, sneaking into flasks suddenly turned dark.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Julia Milstead, city spokeswoman. “We don’t know what happened, but it’s heartbreaking. There are no words for what anyone is feeling right now.”

“Today started off with so much joy,” said Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “The parade route was packed with smiling children and it made my heart so happy to see it. Now we are all devastated by the news of this tragic accident and praying for the victim and his family. It is heartbreaking.

The mayor then tweeted:

“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of the young girl who lost her life today in the Raleigh Christmas Parade. Our prayers are with her family, friends and the CC&Co dancers. The community is here for you as we try to understand and process this shared tragedy.

Governor Roy Cooper, whose wife, Kristin, had tweeted about the death earlier in the day, said in a tweet on Saturday afternoon: “Kristin and I are devastated by the tragedy of the Christmas parade in Raleigh today. In a joyful season on what should be a happy day, we instead mourn this family and their friends as we keep them in our prayers.

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