Accident in St. Patrick's Day Parade

Published: Mar. 17, 2004 at 5:45 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 17, 2004 at 11:28 PM EST
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A gold Chrysler Sebring convertible involved in the St. Patrick's Day parade lost control around 12:15pm and ran into a group of people at Wright Square near Bull and State Streets. According to police, the procession had come to a stop and the car, which was following the Monmouth County, NJ, Police Pipe and Drum Corps band, continued forward and struck several band members and spectators watching from near the square.

"He hit the gas, and he looked like he just panicked," said witness Brent Wallace. "His face turned red."

"It was like someone had to have put a brick on the accelerator," witness Ann McDonald added.

And witness Jeff Gronner told us, "The driver did not try and stop the car at all. The bushes and the curb and the grass is what stopped that car."

According two hospital spokespeople, a total of eight people were injured and transported to hospitals. Six adults went to Memorial Health, where five were treated and released and one admitted for observation. Two adults are at St. Joseph's/Candler, one is listed in good condition and the other in fair. None of the injuries are said to be life-threatening.

At the time of the accident, spectators didn't know who was hurt or what to do first, but several immediately stepped up. About 40 or 50 people tried to lift the car when it was thought people were trapped underneath. Others called 911 or looked for ice or other items to ease the pain of the injured.

Two members of the G-8 summit planning committee, one male and female, were among the injured. They were watching the parade for security observation, when the women was struck by the car and thrown 40 to 60 feet, according to G-8 spokesman Barry Bennett. Bennett says the man was holding out to his arm to avoid being hit and suffered a cut.

The damaged car had its windshield smashed in the wreck. Savannah-Chatham police questioned the driver, who they say is cooperating. Alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor by investigators, and the vehicle will be examined as part of determining whether the cause was driver-related or mechanical. No charges have been filed at this time.

The parade was slowed down due to the wreck.

Reported by: WTOC staff