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July 5, 2013

Boy, 8, dies when struck, run over by July 4th float

Edmond —  Authorities are trying to determine whether an 8-year-old boy fell or jumped off a July Fourth parade float and then died when he was accidentally struck by the float and run over by one of its wheels. The father of the boy was driving the pickup truck pulling the float.

Police said the accident happened at 11 a.m. Thursday after the LibertyFest parade -- which attracted hundreds of onlookers to this Oklahoma City suburb --  had ended and the floats were returning to the staging area.

The victim had been riding on a flatbed trailer float with other members of his martial arts club. Police said the driver of the float was not aware someone had fallen off or jumped from the trailer.

Police said no charges would be filed.  "It was just a freak, unfortunate accident," said police officer James Hamm, who was among those first on the scene.

Hamm said a nurse in the parade crowd performed CPR on the boy before he was taken to Oklahoma University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said they were withholding the names of the boy and his father until the investigation into the accident was completed.

Mayor Charles Lamb expressed grief for the boy's family "over this tragic acciddent and their loss."

Hamm said he's been working the LibertyFest parade for 13 years, and had never experienced anything close to the fatal accident. "Our hearts go out to the boy's family, friends and all who were involved," he said.

Retired NASA astonaut John B. Harrington, the parade marshal, issued a statement expressing "deepest condolences to the family who lost their child during today's parade ... I was honored to be part of an event that brings together such a close-knit, caring community. As Oklahomans, we care deeply for our friends and neighbors and share in their grief when tragedy strikes."

LibertyFest has been an annual Fourth of July celebration in Edmond for 41 years.

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