1 dead, 1 seriously hurt after driver crashes into crowd at Pride parade in Florida

·3 min read

Latest updates: Officials say Pride parade crash was not intentional. Read more here.

One person was killed and another was seriously injured after a pickup slammed into the crowd at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida on Saturday night, officials said.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who was at the Stonewall Pride Parade event, along with U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch, confirmed the incident on Twitter and said the driver was in custody.

"I’m lucky to be safe," Fried tweeted. "All of us here all praying for them and their families."

One victim was hospitalized and the other died of injuries, authorities said, according to The Associated Press.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment. It wasn't immediately known if the driver acted intentionally.

Chris Caputo, a city commissioner in Wilton Manors, said on Twitter that it was "increasingly probable it was an accident." But Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told WSVN-TV the driver accelerated into the crowd, describing the incident as a deliberate attack on the LGBTQ community.

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Joey Spears, 25, told USA TODAY he was walking up to the start of the parade when he saw the truck drive through the crowd.

"All of a sudden I see this truck peel out and just going through the people," Spears said.

Spears captured video of the aftermath that showed a person on the ground. Spears said he and the people he was with were cornered off by police at a local high school parking lot for about an hour before they were allowed to leave the area. That's when they started marching.

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"Unofficially, we still walked through the parade because we weren’t going to let anything stop our pride from being expressed," Spears said.

Photos and video from the scene showed Wasserman Schultz in tears while in a convertible at the parade. A spokesperson for congresswoman did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Several local news outlets reported the victims were taken to Broward Health Medical Center. The center did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The Wilton Manors Police Department said in a tweet that there was no danger to the public.

U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch hug after a truck drove into a crowd of people during a Pride parade in Wilton Manors near Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.
U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch hug after a truck drove into a crowd of people during a Pride parade in Wilton Manors near Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.

"A tragic incident occurred at today's Stonewall event," Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton said in a statement. "Out of respect for everyone involved, the parade has been cancelled and a thorough investigation is being conducted."

Deutch said on Twitter that he was "devastated by the horror we saw at Wilton Manors Pride."

"I’m so sorry, Wilton Manors. I’m so sorry, my friends," he wrote.

Florida State Sen. Shevrin "Shev" Jones said on Twitter that he was "heartbroken and in shock over what has happened at Wilton Manors Pride."

"Praying for and sending love to everyone there, including many friends," Jones wrote.

The Wilton Manors Pride event is held annually in June, according to the event’s website. About an hour after the incident, a Facebook page for the event posted a video of several participants marching down the street.

Wilton Manors is a city in Broward County. It has a population of about 13,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Wilton Manors Pride parade: 1 dead, 1 hurt after crash in Florida

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