New Parade Rules After Last Year's Wreck

The scene of last year's wreck.
The scene of last year's wreck.

If you were anywhere near the Coastal Empire or Low Country during last year's Saint Patrick's Day parade, you'll remember this. A 1996 Chrysler Sebring, part of the parade procession, went out of control, crashing into several people, including some members of the Monmouth County Pipe and Drum Corps from New Jersey.

Eight people were taken to local hospitals.

The driver, 62-year-old John Sheppard, was never charged and investigators never determined what caused the car to go out of control.

This year, parade organizers wanted to make sure nothing like that ever happens again, so they took extra precautions.

The adjutants are the ones who are in charge of policing the parade, making sure nothing like last year ever happens again. This morning, Michael Kenny, along with other adjutants, checked their lists and inspected every single one of almost 200 floats and entries in this year's parade.

"Of course after last year we'll be more amped, policing it better," he said.

Even though alcohol did not play a factor in last year's accident, the biggest rule being enforced this year is no drinking on the floats during the parade.

"We got a lot of notices about not drinking and that kind of thing," said Chad Moreton, who was on the SPA Crest float. "That seems to be the one of the biggest differences that they cracked down it seemed."

"Anyone who is drinking or rowdy will be asked to leave by the city police department," said Kenny.

Other rules different from Saint Patrick's celebrations past? All groups with floats in the parade had to sign papers stating their cars were mechanically sound. They also had to prove their liability insurance covers four times the amount required by Georgia law.

But despite the changes this year, organizers say there is one thing that will never change. "We want everybody to come out and have a good time," said Kenny.

Luckily, there were no problems today and the parade committee says Savannah's biggest party went off without a hitch.

Reported by: Hena Daniels,