Added safety after Bellevue parade tragedy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Added safety after Bellevue parade tragedy


The community of Bellevue is celebrating its 49th annual Heritage Days Celebration, one year after the tragic parade accident of 2010.

Last year, two horses in the parade got spooked - possibly by birds, the city's investigation found - and bolted into the crowd, killing one woman and injuring dozens more.

Alice Cassaday-Davis was at that parade and remembers the chaos at the scene.

"It was tragic," Cassaday-Davis recalled at Sunday's parade. "We saw the end of the happening, when the horses turned the corner...And everybody running and screaming and crying."

Driven to help, community leaders such as Dave North organized the Bellevue Parade Victims Fund.

"The response from the community was overwhelming," North said. "In fact, we raised so much money, it exceeded the needs that the families expressed, so we were able to divert some of that back into more safety efforts."

Added safety measures included new security vests and barricades, additional official personnel, extra communication training and a new Bobcat vehicle to roam the parade route, ready for any emergency.

Horses remained in this year's parade. Mayor Virgil Murray said many people are looking to the future and not focusing on last year's tragedy.

"We kind of dealt with that throughout the year with the victims fund and everything, and today, even though it's in our heart, many of us, we're ready to move on," Murray said.

"It was just a horrible accident," Cassaday-Davis said. "You grieved for the people that were involved, but you accept it and go on."

She said the support in the past year has shown Bellevue's ability to come back, stronger than ever.

"It brings a community together, you know. Tragedy does that," she said.

Bellevue's population is about 2,300.

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