BELLEVUE, Iowa (AP) - Sandie Crilly was helping her 8-year-old
son, 12-year-old niece and 2-year-old granddaughter pick up Tootsie
Rolls from the ground during Bellevue's annual Fourth of July
parade when someone yelled to get out of the way.
Looking up, she saw two panicked horses dragging a carriage
charging toward them.
"I could see it was two horses," said Crilly, 46, of Willow
Springs, Ill., who was visiting her parents in Bellevue. "I could
see they were running at full speed and they were harnessed
together and I knew we were going to most certainly get hit, and as
soon as it happened, everybody was crying and screaming."
Someone pulled her granddaughter to safety, but Crilly said her
niece broke her wrist and lost her two front teeth. At least 22
other people were injured, some critically, and one woman was
killed, police and hospital officials said.
Janet Steines of Spragueville, whose husband was driving the
carriage, died Sunday evening at the University of Iowa Hospital in
Iowa City, according to the Hachmann Funeral Home in Bellevue.
The horses got spooked after they rubbed heads and one's bridle
fell off, police said. They galloped for several blocks through
downtown Bellevue, a town of about 2,300 residents along the
Iowa-Illinois border. The wagon overturned at some point, dumping
its four passengers.
Many of the injured were children like Crilly's niece who were
picking up candy from the street that had been tossed to them.
Most of the injured were treated at hospitals and released, but
at least four people remained in critical condition late Sunday and
several others were seriously hurt, according to police and
Paramedics treated victims at an art gallery in town and a
triage area was set up near the Mississippi River, where volunteers
held up tarps to shield the injured and paramedics from the sun and
heat, Crilly said. Others brought the injured ice and water, she
"It was madness," Crilly said. "I mean we were in a triage.
The town really came together. It was a huge community effort."
Mayor Virgil Murray said residents were shocked, and they've
never had problems with having horses in the parade before.
"We've never really had any tragedy," the mayor said.
"Usually our biggest nemesis is if it rains. That's what we're
always worried about."
Between 3,000 and 4,000 people attend the parade, many people
coming in from rural areas and nearby towns, he said.
The injured were sent by ambulance and medical helicopter to
hospitals in Dubuque, Maquoketa and Iowa City. Ten patients were
taken to Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque, nine of them children, house
supervisor Carol Dietzel said.
Two children in critical condition was flown to University of
Iowa Hospital, and one was in fair condition at Mercy Medical, a
hospital official said. Seven children were treated and released.
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver released a statement saying the victims
were in his thoughts and prayers.
"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," Culver