Dozens injured when car hits Virginia parade

Washington Post – by Martin Weil

As many as 50 or 60 people were injured Saturday in southwest Virginia when a car plowed into the annual Appalachian Trail Days parade in the town of Damascus, sending hundreds of people scattering amid shouts and screams.Nine of the injured were taken to hospitals after the incident at the annual trail festival, but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, authorities said.  

“Reports to us indicate that no one was injured beyond stable” said Pokey Harris, director of emergency management in Washington County, Va. where Damascus is located, about 300 miles southwest of the District.Authorities had feared that it was going to be “ much more serious,” said Peg Ayers, a member of the town council in Damascus, which is close to Virginia’s borders with both Tennessee and North Carolina.

Harris said the car that ran into the parade had itself been in the parade. It was possible that a medical condition caused the driver to lose control, Harris said. The matter is under investigation, she said.

The vehicle was apparently traveling about 20 to 25 miles an hour when it suddenly ran into people walking, assembling or watching near the back end of the parade. People fled, shouting and yelling, Harris said. There was “some immediate panic,” but law enforcement personnel and rescue personnel on the scene and others quickly went to the aid of the injured, Ayers said.

“Everybody was able to jump in immediately,” she said.

The driver, who was not identified, was also taken to a trauma center, Harris said. She said his condition was not known. His age was not given.

About 50 or 60 people received a wide range of injuries , including “everything from the superficial, bangs and bruises,” to the more serious, Harris said.

As of about 6:50 p.m. it appeared that most of those taken to hospitals had been discharged. Harris said it was possible that only two remained at the hospitals Saturday night.

Most of those injured were apparently in the parade, but Harris said others may also have been involved. Damascus town police chief William Nunley said in a news release that the car drove into about 1,000 people who were participating in the parade or were bystanders.

The parade is an annual event and part of a three day trail festival in Damascus. Ayers said some long distance hikers line up according to the year in which they hiked the length of the trail. The event takes on aspects of a family reunion, she said.

Participants come from all over, Harris said, and the majority of those injured apparently came from outside the Southwest Virginia area.

2 thoughts on “Dozens injured when car hits Virginia parade

  1. So what’s next? Pelosi going to demand Congress ban cars? Or did some Al CIA duh recruits get confused and went to the wrong Damascus? I guess the bright side is no politician is shrieking “terrorist!”

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