A 72 year old man is in the Kern County Jail today after interrupting Bakersfield’s Christmas Parade by running down three parade watchers and a food truck.
Although the victims received serious injuries, including broken bones, they are said to be in stable condition in a local hospital.
The parade was due to start at 6pm, about half hour after the incident, and was at first thought to have been canceled but ultimately the event was delayed, and re-routed around the affected area.
Many false reports began circulating that caused some of those in the parade to pull out and leave the area. Rumors falsely claimed there had been deaths and shots fired, neither of which were true. There was also fear that the act involved some kind of terrorism, firearms, and that children had been hurt, but police investigations later revealed non of that was true. Word also circulated that the parade was canceled, but it was not, in spite of the fact that some citizens interviewed after the incident said they thought it should have been out of respect for those who were injured.
Bakersfield Police say if you ever find yourself in a situation, tell police and investigators everything you saw and heard at the scene, but do not use social media to spread unsubstantiated rumors that can spread fear and confusion, as it happened in this case.
Exact charges are not yet known, but Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry said those charges will certainly center around driving under the influence and causing great bodily injury. The identities of the victims have not been released, but Terry said the identity of the suspect will be released later today.
KNZR reporters were on the scene interviewing parade officials as the tragedy unfolded, and was among the very first media entities to bring factual news of the event to the public by 6:30 last night.