Grass Valley man, 78, dies in July 4th parade accident

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. -- A 78-year-old Grass Valley man was killed after the town's Independence Day Parade when he was crushed by the tractor he was using to pull a paratrooper-themed float, police said.

The man, who was not immediately identified, died of a fractured skull and brain swelling after the tractor flipped over in the downtown area of this small mountain town, about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, according to authorities.

Witnesses told the Grass Valley Union that as parade participants were dispersing, the tractor tried to make a left turn at an excessive speed and rolled several times.

An ambulance was immediately behind the float, and the driver was quickly flown to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where he died during surgery Friday evening.

A passenger, age 79, was also flown to the Roseville hospital and was released after treatment. Several bystanders were struck, but none required treatment.

Grass Valley Police Sgt. Dave Remillard said the driver managed to avoid hitting other parade participants. "He could have taken them out like bowling pins," Remillard told the newspaper.

The float was a mock army plane constructed of cardboard and painted olive-drab. During the parade, the float featured a man jumping out with a parachute, yelling "Geronimo!"


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