OVERTON, TEXAS (KLTV) - A truck that plowed through a crowd Monday night at the annual Overton-New London Christmas parade has left eight people injured, including six East Texas cub scouts between the ages of 7 - 11 and two women, ages 28 and 33.
One scout was airlifted to Children's Medical Center in Dallas, according to John Moore with Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, while the rest were taken to Mother Frances in Tyler for treatment. A seven year old boy is still being held at Mother Frances in serious condition and another boy is being held in good condition. The other boys and two women involved were treated and released.
Witnesses say that around 6:00 pm, the boys and two women were waiting to march in the parade when what was supposed to be a happy holiday celebration quickly turned to tragedy.
Overton's city attorney says the driver of a red Chevrolet pick-up truck drove around a barricade and into a crowd of cub scouts from the Overton, New London, and Arp areas who were getting ready to march in the parade.
A breathalyzer was performed at the scene on the driver of the truck, who is in his eighties, and its results showed no presence of alcohol, according to Overton city manager BJ Potts. Potts also told KLTV 7 News that the driver has been booked into jail.
According to one of the injured boys and his mother, Toby and Nancy Melton, many of the boys who were injured were from Cub Scout Troop 912 in New London, and the women injured were the troop leader and a parent. We spoke with eleven year old Toby and his mom just after he was released from Mother Frances of Tyler for a knee injury sustained in the accident.
"I was asking this one lady for a piece of gum, and she said yeah, and I turned around and a truck started coming towards us real fast," said Toby. "It was real scary, frightening."
"I was sitting in my car waiting for the cub scouts to march back, and all the boys started coming back, and I thought to myself, why are all these boys coming this way? I thought maybe Toby is back or something, so I got out of my car and walked over to the Overton Auto Park and they said well, the cub scouts got hit by a car, and I went to shaking and I said well, I've got to go. I need to find my kid," described Nancy Melton.
Nancy described the aftermath of the accident as chaotic as parents rushed to find their children in the crowd. Several witnesses say after seeing what happened, several parents rushed from the packed sidelines into the street, and had to be held back by police.
Brandon Jackson was just made an Eagle Scout Sunday. He says he was right next to the group when the truck plowed through.
"The only thing I could think to do was just go over there and try to help," said Jackson. "There was a woman laying on the ground, so I went to her and kept telling her, don't move, and waited on the paramedics to get there. I just don't think he [the driver of the truck] saw them...and just ran into them," described Jackson.
Overton Police Department has refused to comment on the exact number of people injured or the severity of the injuries.