The Raleigh Christmas parade in North Carolina ended in tragedy: a truck pulling a float lost control and rammed into a youth dance troupe, killing Hailey Brooks. The driver, Landen Christopher Glass, faces a litany of criminal charges, including involuntary manslaughter, carelessness and recklessness, unsafe movement, and carrying a firearm in a parade.
Witnesses told WRAL News that Glass yelled he’d lost the brakes of his GMC Denali and couldn’t stop. Adults responded by pushing dancers off the road. Worth Creech, an eyewitness, said:
“All of a sudden we looked up and saw a truck on the other side of the road kind of coming towards us. They were able to get most of the girls out of the way. Unfortunately, we saw one of the girls get run over.”
Hailey’s parents said the family was shocked and heartbroken by her death
Hailey Brooks lived with her parents, Trey and April Brooks, in Goode, Virginia. WRAL News tried to obtain a statement from them at the home, but the family said it would comment later. Trey and April issued a statement saying the family was shocked and heartbroken by Hailey’s death. It read:
“She had a kind and humble heart that was always focused on caring for the needs of those around her. Even in her final hours, Hailey showed her loving and giving spirit to the younger children who were with her in the parade.”
Brooks’ parents continued: “We greatly appreciate the love and support that the community has shown us, and we plan to share more about Hailey’s special life soon. At this time, we ask that the media respect our family’s need for privacy while we grieve the loss of our dear Hailey.”
Mourners leaving flowers and handwritten notes formed a memorial on Hillsborough Street near the site of the accident. Another memorial by fellow dancers emerged on Six Forks Road at the CC & Co. studio.
Hailey was a performer with the CC & Company Dance Complex. CC & Co. Dance sent a statement to parents, informing them that counseling was available. The statement read in part:
“Dance and movement are forms of healing and therapy. As difficult as it will be to return to classes at the studio with the huge loss in our hearts, we hope that you can join us in the healing as we celebrate the life of this young dancer who blessed us in so many ways.”