EDMOND — The grand marshal of the 2013 LibertyFest Parade asked Oklahomans to keep a local family in their prayers. An 8-year-old boy who was riding on a float in the LibertyFest Parade Thursday morning died from injuries suffered after a fall from the float.
Commander John B. Herrington and his wife Margo led the parade's kickoff Thursday morning in downtown Edmond. Herrington, a former NASA astronaut, was the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly in space.
"My family and I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family who lost their child during today’s parade. As the grand marshal for the Edmond LibertyFest 2013 Parade, I was honored to be part of an event that brings together such a close-knit, caring community," Herrington said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. "As Oklahomans, we care deeply for our friends and neighbors and share in their grief when tragedy strikes. As we celebrate our nation’s independence, please take the time to hold this family in your prayers. Also, we give our heartfelt thanks to the first responders who always look after our communities."
Edmond Police Officer James Hamm said the boy, who was age 8, was pronounced dead after life-saving efforts at the OU Medical Center Presbyterian Tower trauma center. Information about the boy's hometown was not immediately available, Hamm said.
"Our hearts go out to the boy's family, friends and all those who were involved," Hamm said Thursday morning.
The boy was riding on a martial arts studio's entry consisting of a pickup and a flatbed trailer, Hamm said. It was in a line of entries near Ayers and Baumann, approaching the route exit, when the boy either got off or fell off the trailer, which rolled over him, Hamm said.
Hamm said the driver, who likely was not immediately aware of what happened behind him, did not do anything wrong. A parade-goer told one of the nearby police officers working the event assistance was needed.
Traffic investigators will give the boy's family some emotional space before conducting that part of the formal inquiry, Hamm said. Hamm, who has worked the parade annually since he joined the Edmond Police Department 13 years ago, said nothing close to this has happened in LibertyFest history.
LibertyFest is an all-volunteer led organization that puts on a week's worth of Fourth of July events in Edmond. Those events include an annual car show, rodeo, KiteFest, Taste of Edmond, ParkFest, the Miss LibertyFest pageant and the annual fireworks show in addition to the parade.
Mayor Charles Lamb said the city is saddened by the tragic loss of life.
"(It's) a tragedy for all of us on this day of national celebration," Lamb said. "My heart goes out to all the volunteers who work so hard to put this event together as I know they feel great pain about this. Cheri and I grieve for the family over this tragic accident and their loss."