ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A gay pride parade in downtown Anchorage on Saturday was canceled after a convertible carrying the grand marshal fatally struck a man, authorities said.
Anchorage police Lt. Dave Parker said James L. Crump, 50, was killed while participating in the Celebrating Diversity Parade. He said the car accelerated and ran over the man just minutes after the parade scheduled for 11 a.m. started.
Officers “immediately started CPR, but were not able to revive him,” Parker said. “He was declared deceased at the scene.”
Police questioned the driver and authorities were trying to determine whether the collision was caused by mechanical failure or driver error. There was no indication that alcohol was involved.
Grand marshal Doug Frank told the Anchorage Daily News that the convertible’s driver had trouble with the car’s accelerator.
“It ran over a person, totally over,” Frank said, sobbing. “This went from one of the best days of my life to the worst.”
Organizers told parade-watchers to head to a nearby park where the Alaska PrideFest was taking place. An announcer urged people to clear the parade area to make way for emergency vehicles and police cars. People later held a brief prayer ceremony at the festival.
“It should be a day we’re celebrating our diversity, not having to focus on the death of anyone, especially one of our own,” said Michael French, who was working at one of the festival’s booths.