STOCKTON, Mo. — KOLR10 Investigates is looking into whether a required parade permit was obtained in Stockton for the Black Walnut Festival after a 12-year-old boy fell off a float and was run over.
Missouri State highway patrol is investigating a parade float crash that sent a 12-year-old to the hospital by helicopter. He suffered serious injuries but is expected to be okay.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol crash report, the minor was pinned under the parade float around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
“When the parade stopped and started going again is when the juvenile fell off the trailer and was pulled under the wheels,” said MSHP Sgt. Mike McClure.
The accident marks a dangerous start to fall festivals kicking off around the Ozarks. With many parades and hay rides happening around the Ozarks over the next several months, KOLR10 Investigates exposes a gray area in Missouri’s traffic laws.
While there doesn’t appear to be any Missouri statute regulating riding in an open or closed trailer for the purpose of a parade or hay ride, parades do require permits by law.
“Coming into the fall, there’s going to be more parades in smaller towns,” said Sgt. McClure. “The chief of police by statute being the one that assigns or grants the permit for the parade.”
However, there is no police department in Stockton. Laws are enforced through the Cedar County Sheriff’s Department.
The sheriff’s office says they don’t issue permits and told KOLR10 Investigates to check with city hall. City hall said it doesn’t issue parade permits either, directing us to the parade organizers — the Stockton Lake Sertoma Club. It’s not a government agency and wouldn’t answer questions without first speaking to a lawyer.
KOLR10 Investigates obtained a copy of the float registration form for the parade. It asks for contact information and the length of the float trailer. There’s no mention of safety guidelines or requests for insurance information.
A safety activist says people are injured as a result of lax trailer safety regulations all too often.
“Our mission is not to stop the fun, but I don’t think it’s proper to watch someone get crushed by a parade float,” said Ron Melancon.
He witnessed a woman die when a trailer came unhitched and struck her 18 years ago. Melancon says that experience, coupled with the six years he spent as an EMT, drives his passion for trailer safety reform.
A Black Walnut Festival parade sponsor says the boy came home the same night of the accident and is recovering.
The most notable upcoming parade is Missouri State University’s Homecoming Parade. KOLR10 Investigates asked the graduate advisor if additional safety measures will be implemented following the accident in Stockton.
Organizers provided a copy of safety regulations. The two-page document lays out regulations on parade float size restrictions, obeying traffic laws, and using fire-resistant materials.
Sgt. McClure points out that while hay rides and permitted parades are generally allowed in Missouri, drivers must go slow, should avoid events after dark, and stay on private property while towing people when possible.