Sunday, February 3, 2008

5-year-old hit by vehicle at parade

5-year-old hit by vehicle at parade

Accident drives talk of candy ban


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Photo gallery: UI Homecoming Celebration

Organizers of the University of Iowa homecoming parade said it was unfortunate that a child was run over during Friday's parade, while some people want to ban candy being distributed during the event.

"It is really up to parents to keep their kids back," said Shelly Stout, the executive director of the UI Homecoming Council, the group that planned the parade. "We can only do so much with our crowd control. It is unfortunate that this happened."

Police responded at 6:23 p.m. Friday to the Washington and Dubuque streets intersection, which was on the parade route, to an unnamed 5-year-old who was run over by a vehicle, according to Sgt. Troy Kelsay, the public information officer with the Iowa City Police Department.

"The dispatcher was under the impression it was more of a scare than anything, but I don't know the extent of injuries," Kelsay said, adding the child was transported by a private vehicle to a hospital, but he was not sure which one.

Kelsay and Stout said this is the first accident they can recall during the annual parade, and they had not received any complaints or heard of other incidents this year.

Stout said she did not have many details about the accident but said that a girl fell off a truck bed.

Some residents have expressed concern that the parade is dangerous because people on the floats toss candy into the crowd, prompting children to run into the street and potentially in front of moving vehicles.

Stout said their policy forbids throwing candy from floats, but they can hand it to people directly.

Rhys Jones of Iowa City attended the parade with his wife and 6-year-old twins. He said the candy makes the parade dangerous.

Jones said he watched four or five incidents where people would grab candy from the floats and dump handfuls into the middle of the street leading children to run into the middle of traffic.

"Every year you hear complaints from parents," Jones said. "It's hard to believe that Iowa City, with all its rules and regulations, allows this."

Jones said some communities don't allow candy in their parades, and that Iowa City should ban it, too.

"I am seriously questioning if we can go to another parade," Jones said, noting they have been going for the past four years.

Sgt. Doug Hart, who has been with the Iowa City Police Department for the past 15 years, was on duty at the parade Friday. He said he thinks the parade is safe and that parents must take responsibility to ensure their own children's safety.

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