FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A crash that killed one man and injured another before the start of the Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors appears to be accidental, Fort Lauderdale police said Sunday.
The crash occurred Saturday night in the 1600 block of Northeast Fourth Avenue.
According to police, a preliminary investigation revealed a 2011 white Dodge Ram was stopped in the staging area, awaiting the start of the parade.
The driver of the vehicle, a 77-year-old man, was a participant who had ailments preventing him from walking for the duration of the parade. He had then been selected to drive as the lead vehicle, police said.
As the truck began to move forward, it accelerated unexpectedly, striking two pedestrians, investigators said. After striking the pedestrians, the truck continued across all lanes of traffic, ultimately crashing into the fence of a business on the west side of the street.
Police said the driver remained at the scene of the crash and cooperated with investigators. Police conducted a DUI investigation and found no signs of impairment.
The driver, as well as both pedestrians, are members of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus.
Both men were taken to Broward Health Medical Center with serious injuries. One of the men later died at the hospital.
The second man remained at the hospital Sunday but was expected to survive. Their identities haven't been released.
No arrests have been made.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis released the following statement:
Last evening, at the start of what was to be a celebration of pride for the LGBT community and commemoration of our hard-won victories for equality, our community faced the worst of tragedies. The grief of our LGBT community — and greater Fort Lauderdale as a whole — is palpable.
I was an eyewitness to the horrifying events. It terrorized me and all around me. I reported what I saw to law enforcement and had strong concerns about what transpired — concerns for the safety of my community. I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away.
Law enforcement took what appeared obvious to me and others nearby and investigated further — as is their job. As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control. As a result, one man died, two others were injured and the lives of two members of Congress were at risk. My heart breaks for all impacted by this tragedy.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department continues to investigate this case and asks anyone who may have witnessed the incident, and has not already spoken to investigators, to contact Traffic Homicide Investigator Paul Williams at 954-828-5755.