Bellevue, Iowa

The Bellevue Heritage Day Celebration Parade turned tragic today, July 4, 2010, when two (2) out of control horses broke loose and stampeded through the crowd, injuring at least 24 people. Half of the injured are said to be children under the age of twelve.

A “mass casualty incident” at the 4th of July parade was called in shortly before noon. Fire Chief Chris Rowling said one of the horses rubbed the bridle off the other, causing the driver of the wagon to lose control of them.

Horse Stampede Injures 24 During Iowa Parade

The horses ran wild with the wagon behind them for six to eight blocks—hitting and injuring children and adults in the milieu. Their ages range from 2 through 62. Fourteen of them suffered minor injuries, but five are in serious condition and the other five are listed as critical.

Injuries range from collapsed lungs, to fractures and abrasions.

The stampeding horses eventually ran into a large street sign, dislodging the wagon and throwing it’s two passengers. They continued on until they slammed into a trailer.
There is currently no word on the horses’ status.

Some people are blaming one horse for removing the other horse’s bridle, others are saying someone threw a firecracker, spooking them and causing the ensuing panic. That has not been confirmed, however.

Right now people are trying understand how this tragedy came to be.

Holly Specht, of Peosta, was visiting her hometown this weekend and had this to say:

“There were two horses coming at us at full speed, right at the curb. People were grabbing kids. You looked up and it was just like a flash. Everybody was kind of in shock and panic.”

Bellevue is a town with about 2,300 residents. A statement is expected to be issued by the Bellevue Police Department later today.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver offered his thoughts and prayers and stated the following:

“I am especially saddened because the accident occurred during the events celebrating Independence Day, which is a day that should be filled with pride and joy for all Iowans and Americans.”

He also thanked the emergency responders as well as the spectators who aided at the scene.

My family is about to set out to enjoy a parade and fireworks shortly—I cannot imagine something as bizarre as horses stampeding through the crowd and maiming, injuring or possibly killing anyone. My heart goes out to those wonderful citizens of Bellevue, Iowa, and we pray for a full recovery for all.

This is a developing story so check back for updates.

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