Saturday's gay pride parade in Anchorage was canceled after the convertible carrying the grand marshal careened out of control and fatally struck a man, reports KTUU. The freak accident happened only minutes after the parade started at 11AM.
Police say James L Crump, 50, of Anchorage, died after he was struck by a 1971 Triumph Stag convertible, which was carrying grand marshal of the Pridefest Parade Doug Frank. The driver of the vehicle, Edith Baily, 70, of Eagle River and Frank were unharmed.
Police officers who were nearby at the time of the accident attempted to revive Crump using CPR, but he was declared deceased at the scene, according to an Anchorage Police press release. "As I understand, the vehicle hit him and continued on," said Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Lt. Dave Parker. "I don't know if there was a mechanical problem or not."
Parade organizers promptly canceled the parade and directed parade goers to the Delaney Park Strip, where festivities continued in a subdued manner.
Crump was a public health nurse "employed by the City of Anchorage and "a member of our community who had attended the local [Metropolitan Community Church]," reports eyewitness Mel Green, who blogs at Bent Alaska. "The driver, Edie, was a straight ally who also was associated with MCC."
The accident was apparently caused by an inexperienced driver, according to eyewitness accounts at the Alaska Dispatch. "The driver of parade grand marshal Doug Frank's convertible did not know how to operate the car's stick-shift. A witness called it an 'irresponsible"'decision that left a woman dead and ruined a day of celebration for Alaska's queer communities."
The AP and Alaska Daily News initially incorrectly reported the victim as female. Those reports have since been retracted.