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A young girl has died after the driver of a truck towing a float in a Christmas parade lost control of the vehicle and accidentally ran her down.
Witnesses at the parade in Raleigh, North Carolina, said they heard the driver screaming out of the truck's window that he had lost control and couldn't stop the vehicle.
One eyewitness, Justin Kase Conder, told CNN that the pick-up truck suddenly lurched forward, honking its horn and “people started screaming”.
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Another witness, Brandon Patrick, added: "It was just a lot of chaos, just a lot of cops running, people running…It was crazy. It was traumatising."
While the truck was travelling at a low speed, the girl was unable to get out of its way in time and was severely injured.
Despite bystanders’ frantic life-saving efforts, the child died. Video from the scene shows people rushing from the crowd and desperately trying to bring the truck to a halt. No other parade participants are believed to have been injured.
Raleigh police responded to the incident and both the driver and a passenger in the truck were escorted away from the scene and placed in a police vehicle.
The driver is now facing charges of misdemeanour death by motor vehicle, careless and reckless driving, improper equipment, unsafe movement and carrying a firearm in a parade, reports local news station ABC 11..
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Police said the accident happened around 10.14am near the intersection of Raleigh's Hillsborough Street and Boylan Avenue.
The float was carrying some members of a local troupe, which had around 200 performers taking part in the parade. Some of the participants are as young as five years old, reports WTVD.
A Raleigh Police spokesperson said: "Our hearts go out to the family of the victim and those who witnessed this tragic incident. The victim's family has asked for privacy during this very difficult time."
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Mary-Ann Baldwin, the mayor of North Carolina's state capital Raleigh, tweeted: "Today started off with such joy. The Raleigh Christmas Parade bring smiles to so many faces. My heart was so full.
"And now it aches for the young girl hit in a tragic accident on the parade route. Praying for her, her family and our community.”
The Raleigh Christmas Parade has already been officially cancelled as a result of the tragic of the incident.
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