Florida Rep. Wasserman Schultz nearly struck in Pride parade crash that killed 1: reports
A pickup truck driver slammed into a crowd at a Florida Pride parade in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday evening, narrowly missing Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and leaving at least one person dead.
At least one other person was seriously injured, reports said.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis quickly denounced the crash at the Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade as a "terrorist" attack on the LGBTQ community but police have said they haven't determined if the crash was intentional.
The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus later issued a statement: "Our fellow Chorus members were those injured and the driver was also a part of the Chorus family. To my knowledge, this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community."
The driver was reportedly waiting to join the parade as a representative of the chorus when he accelerated into fellow members waiting to march.
Trantalis said the truck missed the congresswoman "by inches" before it crashed into a plant nursery, WPLG-TV in Fort Lauderdale reported. Wasserman Schultz had been riding in a convertible in the parade.
Investigators were speaking with the driver, who was in custody but authorities wouldn't say if he had been arrested, Fort Lauderdale Police Det. Ali Adamson told reporters.
Witnesses said the driver told police the crash was an accident, according to WPLG-TV in Fort Lauderdale. He said he lost control of the truck after his foot became stuck between the gas and brake, according to WFOR-TV in Miami.
He had reportedly been wearing a gay men's chorus T-shirt and had a Pride flag waving from the back of his truck.
Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat who has been serving in Congress since 2005, later issued a series of statements on Twitter.
"I am deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost and others seriously injured at tonight’s @WiltonManorsCty Stonewall #Pride Parade," the congresswoman wrote in one message. "My staff, volunteers and I are thankfully safe."
She was seen by witnesses in tears after the crash, according to WPLG.
Nikki Fried, Florida agriculture commissioner and a gubernatorial candidate, was also at the parade. "Our hearts are breaking and we continue to pray no more innocent lives are lost," she tweeted.
Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton said in a statement posted to Twitter, "A tragic incident occurred at today’s Stonewall event. Out of respect for everyone involved, the parade has been canceled and a thorough investigation is being conducted."
The FBI is assisting with the investigation.
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