Mardi Gras Parade Marred by 'Tragic Accident'
Car mows into Ala. marching band, injuring a dozen or so youngsters, several critically
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2017 1:14 PM CST
A float rider tosses beads during a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans on Sunday.   (Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – Police in the Alabama beach town of Gulf Shores say a car participating in the city's Fat Tuesday parade accidentally plowed into a marching band, leaving around a dozen young people injured; an earlier AP report says 11 were hurt, with three critically injured, while CNN puts the number at 12, with four suffering more serious injuries. City spokesman Grant Brown tells the AP the band had just entered the parade route Tuesday morning when a car behind the group lurched forward into the group and struck multiple people. The driver of the car was a 73-year-old man who appears to have unintentionally hit the gas, with the local police chief noting it looks to be "a tragic accident by an elderly man." Drugs and alcohol don't appear to have played a part, Brown adds.

Fox News reports the victims from Gulf Shores High School are between the ages of 12 and 17. Witnesses tell FOX10 the vehicle was a white SUV with "MOAA" (for Military Officers Association of America) on the side; officials are trying to confirm whether the vehicle was actually part of the Mardi Gras parade, which ended up being canceled. Details on the most severe injuries weren't immediately available. The FBI is investigating, per ABC News, and the Department of Homeland Security is also keeping an eye on developments, per Fox. Meanwhile, a Baldwin County Board of Education member tells CNN a crisis counselor was sent to a nearby high school to help those who witnessed the mayhem. "It's going to be a very difficult day," she says.

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