No citations issued, alcohol not suspected factor in Lawrence St. Pat’s parade accident

Lawrence police issued no citations and don’t believe alcohol or drug impairment was a factor in a St. Patrick’s Day parade accident in which a woman tripped and was run over by a float.

Police released their accident report, which addressed those issues, this week.

The accident happened about 2 p.m. March 17 on Massachusetts Street just north of 10th Street. According to the accident report:

The driver of the pickup pulling the involved trailer, a 72-year-old Lawrence man, told police he was looking forward and traveling at a low rate of speed when he “felt a bump as the trailer ran over something,” stopped the truck and heard onlookers scream.

Two women riding on the trailer — one who was a friend of the injured woman — told police that some people on the float were handing out beads. They said the woman stepped off the curb on the west side of the street, walked into the road to get some beads and was run over by the driver’s side tire of the trailer.

The injured woman, a 41-year-old Lawrence resident, was taken by ambulance to the University of Kansas hospital.

Neither the pickup driver nor the injured woman, when police interviewed her at the hospital, showed signs of impairment or intoxication, according to the report.

The police department’s report does not specify what part of the woman’s body was run over or what type of injuries she received. According to the report, the hospital would not release the woman’s records to police at the time they prepared their report.

The woman did not answer a call Wednesday and the Journal-World was unable to leave a message. The newspaper inquired with the KU hospital about the woman’s condition, should she still be hospitalized, but did not immediately receive an answer.

Parade rules prohibit throwing candy or other items from floats or by parade participants, but walkers may pass them out to onlookers, according to float registration forms.

Forms don’t specifically address items being handed out directly from floats. However, parade onlookers are supposed to stay behind a chalk line, drawn to keep attendees safely away from the vehicles in the roadway.

Kay Traver, parade committee secretary and board member, previously told the Journal-World that parade volunteers do their best to enforce the chalk line.

“We have dozens of volunteers wearing jackets who walk up and down the line and remind people to stay on the other side,” she said. “… of course, we only have three people on each side per block, so things can’t always be controlled. We tell the children not to cross this line, and we ask the parents to set an example.”

Traver said she wasn’t aware of any similar accident in the event’s 30-plus-year history in Lawrence.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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