Accident last year prompts Clemson to make changes to parade
Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 6:00 am
The Greenville News
By Anna Simon
CLEMSON -- A Clemson Elementary student run over by a float in Clemson University's First Friday parade last year will ride in the parade as the grand marshal this year.
Now recovered from serious injuries, she will ride in a convertible in the parade that starts at 6 p.m. Friday, said Pam Davis, associate director of union programs at the university.
Caroline Terry, then 9, ran up to a float where people were handing out bottled water on the hot summer evening when she slipped and was run over by a tire of the trailer bearing the float.
She was airlifted to a hospital, and what had been an enjoyable annual outing for her family turned into a nightmare.
"Caroline's accident last year was one of the hardest things we have ever been through as a family," said her mother, Melissa Terry. "However, the support of our family, friends and the Clemson community was unbelievable. As soon as Caroline was injured, it was incredible to see the number of community members and students who dropped to their knees to pray."
Terry believes her daughter survived because of their prayers.
Support kept coming. Every athletic team at Clemson sent T-shirts, cards and other get-well wishes, Terry said. The Tiger and Central Spirit came to visit Caroline at her house to lift her spirits as she recovered.
When Caroline returned to school, she joined the fourth-grade Cruisers program that teaches children to make good choices when in cars, on bicycles or on foot. Caroline created a PowerPoint presentation and tells her story to other children to help prevent accidents like hers.
It's helped her deal with the emotional side of the trauma, her mother said.
Caroline will wear her purple Cruisers shirt in the parade, her mother said.
Her teacher, principal and fellow students in the Cruisers program will walk behind her convertible "wearing their purple Cruisers shirts, to show their support of her and to let others know about this program," Terry said.
There are about 45 entries in the parade, which runs along State 93 from Cherry Road in front of the President's House to Williamson Road, just past the lower intramural fields, Davis said.
Entries include the Clemson Tiger Band, various ROTC military groups, the Clemson Sports Car Club and 11 sorority floats, Davis said.
The sorority floats are already under construction behind Bryan Mall next to the President's House.
The theme for the parade this year is "From Fun in the Sun to Death in the Valley," in advance of the first home game of the year on Saturday, when the Clemson Tigers take on Florida Atlantic University at 3:30 p.m.
There are new rules for this year's parade in the wake of the incident last year to create a safe environment for participants and spectators, Davis said.
No one will be allowed to hand out or throw any materials or items before, during or immediately after the parade. No one will be allowed to ride on top of vehicles, and anyone walking with a vehicle or float must remain at least five feet behind the vehicle at all times.
A pep rally will follow the parade at Riggs Field.