Horses Take Off, Injure 24 People at Iowa July 4 Parade

July 6, 2010

Two horses that injured 24 people at a Fourth of July parade in eastern Iowa became uncontrollable after one of them rubbed its head against the other, removing that horse’s bridle, police and fire officials said.

The horses and the wagon attached to them took off for six blocks, running into children and adults seated and standing along the streets watching the parade in Bellevue, about 25 miles south of Dubuque on the Iowa-Illinois border.

Bellevue police and fire officials said the victims were as young as 2 years old and suffered injuries ranging from multiple fractures to collapsed lungs and bruises and abrasions.

Ten patients, including nine children, were taken to Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque. Six children were treated and released. One child in critical condition was flown to the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City.

Carol Dietzel, house supervisor at Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque, said 10 patients were brought there, nine of them children. She said one child in critical condition was flown to University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City.

Another child in critical condition was in surgery and also was expected to be transferred to University of Iowa Hospital, she said.

A third child and an adult, both in fair condition, were awaiting surgery at Mercy Medical Center.

Dietzel said other patients were taken to Finley Hospital in Dubuque, Jackson County Hospital in Maquoketa and Medical Associates Acute Care clinic in Dubuque. Two people taken to the clinic were treated and released.

Officials at Finley Hospital said a 70-year-old woman in serious condition was flown to University of Iowa Hospital.

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported that the out-of-control horses ran along the parade route, jumping curbs, hitting signs and cars and trampling onlookers. The horses galloped over curbs and children. They then hit a large street sign, flipping the buggy they were pulling and ejecting two people in it, the newspaper reported.

The animals eventually ran into a trailer hitched to a van.

Mayor Virgil Murray did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.

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