Saturday morning’s rainy weather gave way to gray skies Saturday afternoon long enough for local residents to kick off their holiday season with a parade down one of the town’s major thoroughfares.
Floats glided past crowds of spectators along with dancers, bands and, at the end, Santa Claus himself.
But before Saturday’s parade ended, a pedestrian watching the parade was struck by a vehicle that had been in the parade and doubled back to watch the rest of the show.
According to Garner police Lt. Chris Clayton, Herbert Dale Austin, 60, of Four Oaks, had driven a Jeep owned by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture in Saturday’s parade. After he completed the route, he turned around and traveled back to the intersection of Avery Road and W. Garner Road to watch the rest of the parade.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Austin told police the vehicle’s clutch appeared to give out and the Jeep started rolling down the hill on Avery Street, striking Aristotle Uchenna Ogoke, 59, of Garner.
Clayton said the Jeep was traveling about 5 mph when it ran over a cone and struck Ogoke, who was standing in Garner Road watching the parade. He suffered minor injuries and complained of leg pain.
He was transported to WakeMed Garner for treatment.
Austin was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision.
Aside from the wreck, Saturday’s parade seemed to come off without any other major hitches. The event closed out a weekend of holiday celebrations that began Friday night with the town’s annual lighting of the greens.
And, if you’re a shopper who still has work to do, you have 10 days. But, who’s counting?