Bellevue faces horse trampling anniversary - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bellevue faces horse trampling anniversary

Photo Courtesy The Telegraph Herald Photo Courtesy The Telegraph Herald

The community of Bellevue is preparing for the one-year mark since that fateful horse trampling along its Heritage Days parade route.

Something - possibly birds, a report by the city found - spooked the horses into a deadly bolt July 4, 2010. Their rampage killed one person and injured dozens more.

The Schmidt family lives just outside Bellevue in Jackson County. They got to witness the tragedy firsthand and say two of their sons are lucky to be alive.

"I just heard the hooves of horses and the rattling of chains, and they were on the boys," mother Melissa Schmidt said.

Two of her sons, Adam, now seven-years-old, and five-year-old Aden were out grabbing candy on the parade route, when the horses and buggy came their way.

"Right there on the street, I thought they both were going to die," Schmidt said.

The boys have since bounced back.

"Adam had some serious injuries and Aden had a concussion, and they're doing great now," Schmidt said.

"Everybody's come to terms with what happened, and I know nobody wants to see it again," the boys' father Dan Schmidt said.

The Bellevue Heritage Days Parade tragedy rocked the community. There will be a parade again this again this year, horses and all.

"We purchased some barricades that we're going to put along the street," Bellevue mayor Virgil Murray said. "We've got the ambulance and the fire department to volunteer and be along in the block as parade officials."

Murray said parade candy will be passed out, instead of thrown on the streets, for crowd control.

The Schmidts will be out of town this holiday weekend.

"We're leaving to go on vacation to Northern Minnesota," Melissa Schmidt said.

They said their thoughts are with Mardell Steines, the driver of the horses, who lost his wife Janet Steines in the tragedy.

"We got really lucky," Dan Schmidt said, knowing it could have been so much worse for his family.

The 2011 parade is Sunday, July 3 at 10:30 a.m.

The City of Bellevue has been so swamped with calls from the media, a public relations specialist has volunteered to help coordinate interviews.

Last year, this story made international news. It wasn't just big newspapers such as the Des Moines Register and the New York Times that picked up the story. International papers such as Australia's Sydney Morning Herald and The Telegraph in London did, too.

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