Memorial Day Parade Goes Awry in Jersey


A falling branch struck a five-year-old girl and cut open her head at the 23rd annual Memorial Day parade in Morris Plains, N.J., according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

The little girl was hospitalized because of the branch injury, which occurred because of a low-flying Coast Guard helicopter that was part of the parade. It hit part of a tree and caused two eight-foot branches to break and fall – one striking the girl.

Another branch hit a 38-year-old woman who was protecting her son from the branch, giving her scratches and a gash on her face, though she was not sent to the hospital for her injuries. Her eight-year-old son also sustained scratches on his face. Paramedics at the scene were able to handle the situation.

The helicopter incident wasn’t the only thing that went wrong at the Morris Plains parade. The Star-Ledger reported that parade participant Bill Barbato, 62, was hospitalized for personal injury reasons after he got pinned under the horse-drawn carriage he was driving.

According to the Morris Plains police report, the carriage’s wheel base was too small to make a turn in the parade, causing the carriage to tip over – and Barbato ended up underneath it. The incident spooked the 1,800-pound Clydesdale who was pulling the vehicle, and it consequently went berserk.

Morris Plains police officer Tom Keane told the Star-Ledger that Barbato was kicked by the frightened horses while he was stuck under the carriage. The Daily Record reported that he was hospitalized with injuries to his head and chest.

Taillights of some cars were broken as a result of the horses as well.

Excepting the fallen tree limbs and scared horse, parade officials said the event went smoothly, attended by a couple thousand people who lined the streets, the Daily Record reported.

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