WILTON MANORS, Fla. – The Fort Lauderdale Police Department has released its preliminary findings from the investigation into Saturday’s deadly incident at a Wilton Manors Pride event.
It was early Saturday evening when a white pickup truck struck two people just before the Stonewall Pride Parade was set to begin.
According to Fort Lauderdale police, the 77-year-old driver had ailments that prevented him from walking in the parade, so he was selected to drive the lead vehicle.
Police said the vehicle accelerated unexpectedly as it moved forward in anticipation of the start of the parade, striking two men.
Both men were rushed to Broward Health Medical Center with serious injuries by Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue.
One of the victims was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. The second victim is expected to survive, authorities said.
According to Fort Lauderdale police, the elderly driver remained at the scene and has been cooperating with investigators.
A DUI test was conducted on the driver at the scene, and police said he showed no signs of impairment.
On Sunday, Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton released a statement in which he called the incident, “a tragic accident.”
The full statement read:
“Our local law enforcement agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are to be commended for their diligent work investigating this incident that we now know was a tragic accident. Our community remains heartbroken for the innocent life lost and the gentleman who was injured. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their loved ones. I want to thank the Wilton Manors Entertainment Group, the volunteers, and everyone in attendance for their patience and understanding in the hours that followed the accident and now, as we heal as one community.”
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis also released a statement on Sunday. He did not apologize for initially calling the incident a terrorist attack, instead saying, in part:
“I was an eyewitness to the horrifying events. It terrorized me and all around me. I reported what I saw to law enforcement and had strong concerns about what transpired — concerns for the safety of my community. I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away.”
“Law enforcement took what appeared obvious to me and others nearby and investigated further — as is their job. As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control. As a result, one man died, two others were injured and the lives of two members of Congress were at risk. My heart breaks for all impacted by this tragedy.”
Authorities have yet to make any arrests, but the investigation is ongoing.