Summersville mayor looks for solutions after multiple injured in parade accident

Multiple people are recovering after an accident Friday night during the Firemen’s Parade at the annual Nicholas County Potato Festival.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 11:55 PM EDT
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NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Multiple people are recovering after an accident during the Firemen’s Parade at the annual Nicholas County Potato Festival Friday night.

Summersville Mayor Robert Shafer said two teenage girls and an adult woman were taken to an area hospital for minor injuries after coming in contact with a low-hanging phone cable after the parade.

According to Shafer, an ambulance featured in the parade needed to exit the route quickly once the event wrapped to respond to an emergency call.

The mayor said the ambulance’s exit forced other vehicles in the parade to take a detour down Spruce Street as they left the planned route.

Shafer said the three women were standing on top of a Craigsville firetruck traveling down Spruce Street and were clipped by the phone cable.

“Anytime you take large vehicles off the road that are typically built for them, the neighborhood side streets are designed to accommodate the large trucks but not with people standing on top of them,” he said.

Shafer said a Craigsville firefighter was also treated at a local hospital. He said the firefighter was not directly injured by the cable, however, the incident triggered some health issues caused by a pre-existing condition.

All four people have already been released from the hospitals.

Carma Massie, a Summersville resident, rode along in the parade on a tractor-trailer as part of her granddaughter’s soccer team.

“They were having a real good time,” she recalled. “They’re very well-trained kids, they do real great, they listen, they kept their feet up and they just throw the candy just like normal.”

She said she felt safe throughout the parade and never worried about her granddaughter’s safety, adding the incident surprised her.

“It sounded like a freak accident,” she said. “I’m just glad everyone’s OK.”

Shafer said he is now looking at possible solutions to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future, including not allowing float riders to be directly on top of a firetruck.

“In emergency situations like this, you take a look at what you gotta do when you do need to detour what routes and streets we’re detouring on,” he said.

The mayor added the phone cable met all city standards.

He also said the initial emergency the ambulance had been called to was not connected to the festival or parade.