Not many takers in Bellevue Parade Victims Fund - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Not many takers in Bellevue Parade Victims Fund

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BELLEVUE (KWWL) -- After nearly three months of fundraising, the Bellevue Parade Victims Fund has almost $250,000 at its disposal.

The story made international news when two horses pulling a buggy broke loose in Bellevue's Fourth of July parade, injuring more than two dozen people and killing one woman.

The Fourth of July fiasco sent a grand total of 27 people to area medical centers and hospitals. Each of them received a $1,000 check from the victims fund to cover out-of-pocket expenses. Five of those people, however, returned their checks, including one man who lost far more than money.

Bellevue Parade Victims Fund chairperson Tim Daugherty said not everybody who could use the money, took it.

"We've actually had five of those checks returned," Daugherty said. "People saying, 'Hey, people need it worse than I do.'"

Daugherty got an unexpected card one day in the mail. It came from Mardell Steines - the driver of the runaway horses and buggy and the man who lost his wife because of it.

"He actually sent a card to us and returned a thousand-dollar check, and then also included some money he had received, for the benefit," Daugherty said. "He wants to make sure everybody else is taken care of before he even files a claim."

Other victims say the $1,000 check came at the perfect time.

"Traveling expenses," parade victim JoAnn Schlect cited. "Several trips up to the doctor in Dubuque and here."

She, like the 21 others who kept their checks, just received the $1,000, so there is still a lot of money -- just less than $250,000 -- to dole out, and there aren't a whole lot of takers.

"We've officially received four or five claims. Most of those have been right at the thousand-dollar level or less," Daugherty said. "There is one claim that's over one thousand dollars. But the people who have suffered a lot of...ongoing treatment, they're still waiting to file claims, and we've been in contact with those people."

The original deadline to file claims was Sept. 30, but with several families still grappling with medical bills, the Bellevue Parade Victims Fund pushed the deadline back to Nov. 1.

Daugherty said the November deadline could also be pushed back, if families still have expenses up in the air at that point.

He said any money left over after all is said and done will go to the Bellevue Fire Department and Bellevue ambulance services.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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