North Carolina officials reverse course to allow Christmas parade after girl's death last year

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina officials will allow a Christmas parade in the capital city after a truck towing a float struck and killed a girl during last year’s event.

The city of Raleigh reversed course late Friday after initially denying the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association’s request for a permit for the Raleigh Christmas Parade, The News & Observer reported.

The Nov. 18 parade in downtown Raleigh will operate without motorized vehicles or floats, according to a statement from the association's executive director, Jennifer Martin.

City officials approached the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association on Friday with a compromise for a non-motorized parade after issuing the initial denial on Thursday, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin told The News & Observer.

Hailey Brooks, 11, was killed during last year’s parade when she was hit by a pickup truck towing a float after the driver lost control. Landen Glass, then 20, was initially charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, careless and reckless driving, improper equipment, unsafe movement and carrying a firearm in a parade. In March, a grand jury elevated his charges to felony involuntary manslaughter.

The city said the original decision was made out of an abundance of caution and out of respect for Hailey Brooks’ family and friends. However, the Brooks family opposed the decision to deny the permit and said it was not consulted, according to attorney Jason Miller.