A Plainfield couple whose 6-year-old daughter was caught in a July 4 parade stampede in Bellevue, Iowa, has filed suit against the owner of the horse-and-buggy rig that ran into the crowd.
Kevin and Lee Armstrong say allege the rig’s owner, Mardell Steines of Spragueville, Iowa, was negligent in the way he operated the carriage and handled the horses and for failing to have an emergency plan for if the horses went out of control, according to a story published by the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa.
They also charge that the city of Bellevue is to blame because its parade route was not safe, offered no protection to pedestrians, lacked an emergency plan and allowed unfit horses to participate, the story says.
It’s the second to be filed in Jackson County District Court from Heritage Day parade accident, in which two dozen people were seriously injured and Steines’ 60-year-old wife, Janet, was killed.
Teagan Armstrong was standing along the parade route when the horses pulling the buggy charged into the crowd, newspaper reports said. Janet Steines was thrown from the buggy.
“A friend ran to pull her out of the way but couldn’t get there in time,” Kevin Armstrong told a Telegraph Herald reporter at the time. “She was so excited to be here and catching candy.”
In the suit, the Armstrongs say their daughter “has and will in the future continue to suffer injuries and damages.”
In an account of the accident published by the Telegraph Herald in July 2010, it was reported that Steines’ horses had been walking in the parade when they something caused them to become upset. They began running out of control along the parade route and eventually ran into a group of people, mostly children, who had been sitting along the curb, the story said.
“At first we thought it was part of the show, but when I saw the (driver’s) face, I knew something was horribly wrong,” Sherry Miller, of Iowa City, told the paper. “We all froze at first, then a friend lunged out and grabbed (her granddaughters) out of the way.”
An emergency fund for the victims has collected $265,000, which is to be used to pay medical bills.
The first lawsuit from the accident was filed in August by a Bettendorf, Iowa, man whose 4-year-old daughter sustained a fractured skull and other injuries from the accident.
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