Couple witnesses tragic incident at Alabama parade

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, March 1, 2017

An Albert Lea man visiting Gulf Shores, Alabama, on Tuesday said he, his wife and their daughter witnessed an SUV accidentally drive into a crowd of people at a Mardi Gras parade, leaving 12 injured.

The story has gained national attention, and three remain in critical condition, as of Tuesday night.

Mark Jones and his wife, Beverly, have traveled down to the Alabama area since 1992 for a few weeks each year and typically stay in the Gulf Shores area.

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They had picked up their daughter who lives in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

On Tuesday, Gulf Shores had its Fat Tuesday parade when the unthinkable happened, he said.

Mark Jones said he was talking on his cellphone to his son, Tom, as the parade got started. They were watching near the beginning of the parade and saw police cars and the honor guard pass, followed by the Gulf Shores Marching Band.

“I said, ‘Can you hear it?’” Jones said he asked his son on the phone about the band as it approached. “Then suddenly I looked over here and there was a car plowing into the band.”

According to news reports, the vehicle, driven by a 73-year-old man, struck multiple youth in the band, injuring 12 in all. Victims ranged in age from 12 to 17.

Law enforcement officials have stated there was no indication that the crash was anything other than “an accident,” according to news reports. The vehicle the man was driving represented the Military Officers Association of America.