One person was killed and another injured after a 77-year-old man participating in an LGBTQ Pride parade drove into other participants near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday night, officials said.
The incident occurred at the city of Wilton Manors' Stonewall Pride Parade, where several Democratic politicians were in attendance.
The exact cause of the crash remained under investigation on Sunday, but the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus described it as an accident. The driver is a member of the group, along with the victims, police said.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic death and injuries that occurred as a result of an unfortunate accident at the start of the Stonewall Pride Parade," the group said. "As the Chorus family mourns together, we thank the community for their love and understanding."
According to Fort Lauderdale police, the driver was cooperating with investigators, and he showed no signs of impairment at the time of the crash. He had been chosen to drive the parade's lead vehicle because physical "ailments" left him unable to walk the full length of the route, police said.
The white Dodge Ram began to move forward at the staging area as the parade was about to begin, then accelerated suddenly, police said. Two people were taken to a hospital after being struck, one of whom died. The other is expected to survive his injuries, police said.
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said on Twitter Saturday night he and his deputies were within feet of the crash as it happened. "Our prayers are with the victims and their families," he said. "Be sure to hug the ones you love tonight."
CBS Miami reported, citing a senior official briefed on the incident, that the driver had told police his foot was stuck between the gas pedal and the brake, causing him to lose control.
WPLG reporter Ian Margol also cited witnesses who heard the truck driver tell police it was an accident.
Margol also shared a photo on Twitter of the white pickup truck, which was flying a pride flag.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told a WPLG reporter that he was walking with Rep. Ted Deutch as the parade began when a white pickup truck dashed through the scene, narrowly missing the car of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Trantalis said he saw the driver hit two people before smashing into a landscaping business.
Christina Currie told the South Florida SunSentinel that she witnessed the incident.
“We were at the start of the parade, right in front of Fort Lauderdale High School,” Currie said. “All of a sudden there was a loud revving of a truck and a crash through a fence.”
On Twitter, Wasserman Schultz said she was "deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost."
"I am so heartbroken by what took place at this celebration," she said. "May the memory of the life lost be for a blessing."
Photos from the scene showed Wasserman Schultz looking panicked and in tears following the incident.
Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton said in a statement that the parade was subsequently canceled.
"A tragic incident occurred at today's Stonewall event," Newton said. "Out of respect for everyone involved the parade has been cancelled and a thorough investigation is being conducted."
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat running for governor, also said she witnessed the incident. "I’m lucky to be safe," she wrote on Twitter.
"Our hearts are breaking and we continue to pray no more innocent lives are lost," she said.