Saturday, June 25, 2011

Anchorage Gay Pride Parade Cancelled After Driver Of Grand Marshal Doug Frank's Car Strikes And Kills Pedestrian

The Anchorage Gay Pride Parade, which generally kicks off a full day of gay pride activities, was cancelled early on June 25th, 2011 after the driver of the vehicle bearing Grand Marshal Doug Frank struck and killed a 50-year-old male pedestrian in the middle of 6th Avenue between D and E streets in front of the J.C. Penney garage around 11:15 A.M. The pedestrian, who was reportedly carrying a banner, ultimately died of head injuries. The pedestrian has been identified as James Crumb, and the driver as Edith Bailey. We have an initial news video from KTUU Channel 2:


Police say the vehicle was traveling at a low speed when it hit and dragged the man. While the Anchorage Daily News reports that driver of the vehicle had trouble with the car's accelerator, causing it to lurch forward, Alaska Dispatch, in their later report, says the driver was having difficulty operating the vehicle's manual transmission, which would have also caused it to lurch forward. Meanwhile, KTVA Channel 11 reports that the driver mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of the brake. A new June 26th ADN report confirms the vehicle has an automatic transmission.

Since police found it necessary to secure and preserve the accident scene for the investigation, the parade was canceled at about 11:30 A.M. by an event organizer, Mad Myrna's DJ and resident drag queen, "Daphne DoAll LaChores". Spectators then adjourned to the Delaney Park Strip to begin the rest of the day's events. APD Lt. Dave Parker explained, "They will do all the measurements and take photographs for evidentiary purposes. They have to check the mechanics of the vehicle to determine if the vehicle was functioning, and then they take witness statements and pull all of that together. So it could take us a couple of weeks until there's a final determination of what exactly happened."

One witness posted the following comment to the ADN story:

heybud 1 25 June approx. 3:40 P.M:
I was there. It was pretty bad that the police didn't block the body from view by parking their cars around it. They just left it lay there. The parade had just started with the Dikes on bikes motorcycles pulled in front of a couple hundred people in front of the PAC. I looked down the road for the next group (along with everyone else lining the street) and see a body down in the middle of the road. I watched as they covered him up with a sheet or top or something. I am still a bit traumatized, I've never witnessed anything like that. So sad. My prayers go out to the victim, his family, friends and anyone else involved.

A comment posted to the KTVA news story provides some background on the driver of the vehicle:

Michael said today at 3:40 PM:
The driver of the car, who for her privacy I will just call "EB", must be devastated! She provides foster care for young people and has for many years. She is a long time, dedicated advocate for the glbt community. This was simply a terrible accident... She, and the gentleman who passed today, "JC", were both fixtures in the Anchorage community.

Because of the somber occasion, there will be no editorialization about the propriety of gay pride or associated events included in this post.

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