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Car careens into St. Patrick's crowd in Savannah

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Guest donaltopablo

Car careens into St. Patrick's crowd in Savannah, injuring 12

By DAN CHAPMAN, PLOTT BRICE

Published on: 03/17/04

SAVANNAH -- 12 people were hurt when a convertible in the city's St. Patrick's Day parade suddenly accelerated, striking at least six of the injured.

All were taken by ambulance to local hospitals. Two adults were taken to St. Joseph's/Candler Health System, one is in good condition, a hospital spokeswoman said. At least six others have been transported to Memorial Health Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Sally Silverman, but their conditions were not immediately available.

The accident occurred around 12:24 p.m. at the intersection of Bull and State streets near the center of downtown Savannah. The parade continued but it was rerouted onto side streets.

The car attempted to pass a marching unit at Wright Square but instead went into the crowd, said Chatham County Police spokesman Buckey Burnsed. Witnesses said they believed the injured included several members of a marching band that was in front of the car in the parade order.

Some of the injured were pedestrians who had gathered to watch the parade near the intersection, police said.

"I was standing by an oak tree talking with the New Jersey bagpipers," said eyewitness Richard Dasher of Savannah. "Then the car sped forward and hit the piper guys and one of them landed on the windshield and cracked it. ... People went bouncing and flying everywhere. ... The two New Jersey pipers were hurt the worst. One of them had his head busted slap open. There was blood everywhere. It's the worst I've seen in a long time."

"People were diving out of the way," said Jeff Gronner of Savannah. "It's a miracle that more people weren't hit."

Gronner said people were screaming as the car raced toward them. He estimated the car was traveling at about 30 mph.

The vehicle, a gold Chrysler Sebring with green shamrocks taped on its sides, had its windshield smashed. The unidentified driver is being questioned at police headquarters.

The accident happened about midway through the 180th Savannah St. Patrick's Day parade -- the nation's second-largest.

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