Iowa town in shock af­ter pa­rade death

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

BELLE­VUE, Iowa — Look­ing back, a brief pause in the an­nual Her­itage Days pa­rade Sun­day was the clos­est peo­ple would get to a warn­ing that any­thing had gone wrong. The pa­rade, one of scores na­tion­wide but this small city’s most sig­nif­i­cant cel­e­bra­tion of the year, had been un­der way for 45 min­utes when the floats stopped com­ing. Then a blur of black hur­tled by.

“That thing came down past here like a bat out of hell,” Merle Kil­burg, 71, said, de­scrib­ing what he re­al­ized was an old-fash­ioned car­riage be­ing dragged by two black horses as fast as 30 mph down a pa­rade route lined with chil­dren. In­side the car­riage, he said, he saw a woman, alone.

“What I saw on her face,” Kil­burg said, “was the most ter­ri­fied look I have ever seen.”

That woman, Janet Steines, 60, whose fam­ily had for many years brought their horses and car­riage to ap­pear in this pa­rade, died af­ter be­ing thrown from the ve­hi­cle. Two dozen oth­ers, at least 15 of them younger than 12, were in­jured as they sat on the curb grab­bing for tossed candy.

The episode left Belle­vue — a city of 2,350 nes­tled against the Mis­sis­sippi River — in a numb state of dis­be­lief. De­spite the grim mood Mon­day, no one was propos­ing an end to Her­itage Days. Farms cre­ated this place, peo­ple noted.

“Maybe we will not have the horses any­more,” res­i­dent Tammy Muller said. “But they are an­i­mals, and they get jit­tery. We’ll have the pa­rade.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.