GARLAND — A medical incident during the Community Day parade Saturday morning delayed the procession for about 45 minutes as concerned spectators watched a motorcyclist being tended to before paramedics arrived and whisked the man away.
The parade began at about 10:30 a.m., as the kickoff to the annual all-day Community Day event. Hundreds of people lined both sides of Ingold Avenue (U.S. 701) and watched as local dignitaries, queens and others made their way south down the road. Then about 15 minutes in, the caravan stopped. A crowd started forming on both sides of the street in front of the former Garland ABC store building.
According to reports, a 53-year-old black male was riding a motorcycle with a female passenger, reportedly as part of the parade, when he toppled off the bike. Some who saw the tail end of the incident said they believed the man may have suffered a heart attack or passed out. Another woman said she heard the engine of the Honda Goldwing revving, as the man gave it gas and then stopped on a dime, believing that may have caused an accident.
The motorcycle did not appear to be heavily damaged, but the man was lying on the ground. Sampson County Sheriff’s deputies surrounded the man as they waited for paramedics to arrive from Harrells.
Sheriff Sgt. Jessica Kittrell said the man did not sustain any injuries, but appeared to be the victim of a dehydration episode or possibly chest pains.
“I think he stopped the motorcycle and fell to the ground,” the sergeant said. She said an EMS worker from Bladen County was nearby and tended to the man while paramedics made their way from Harrells.
During that incident, another medical emergency involving a small girl occurred. According to Kittrell, the girl had a seizure.
“She was vomiting and had mild tremors,” the sergeant said.
The girl was stabilized and both she and the man were taken to Sampson Regional Medical Center.
Garland Mayor Winifred Murphy and town Commissioner Haywood Johnson were on the scene. Johnson said he overheard the man say he was 53 years old. The female passenger was not injured, nor was anybody else, according to several people on the scene. The names of the man and his passenger were not immediately known.
The motorcycle was pushed by about eight men to a nearby alley and a woman fanned the injured man before a Garland Fire Department truck arrived at about 11:15 a.m., followed moments later by a Sampson County EMS ambulance.
The man was strapped to a gurney and transported for treatment. The parade, which was backed up starting at the BP station and extending north, continued at about 11:30 a.m. The Dunn Clowns, Sudan Roadsters and dancers tried to cheer up the somber crowd, which thinned somewhat during the delay.
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