Crowds were gathering for Sunday’s Golf Cart Christmas Parade in Winter Garden, Florida, when a speeding car crashed, provoking fears and leading the parade to be postponed.
The crash, which police said was not an attack on the parade, came just a few weeks after a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin,where a driver accelerated his car into the parade. Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, has been charged with six counts of homicide for those killed in the Nov. 21 attack.
The Winter Garden parade had not yet started when a car approached a barricade, narrowly missed an officer and crashed into another car, according to Orlando Weekly.
Police said Terryus Baker, 27, then fled the scene on foot before he was apprehended.
— Jason ”JJ” Jose (@Jason_Jose) December 13, 2021
The car contained two children and Elizabeth Chavez, 24, who was arrested on an unrelated warrant.
Winter Garden police commander Jason Pearson said the incident “WAS NOT an attack,” in an email to Fox News
Baker told investigators he fled because he was wanted on a charge of driving without a license, Winter Garden police spokesman Scott Allen said.
Baker is charged with driving without a valid driver’s license, possession of narcotics without a prescription, child neglect, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and charges related to an outstanding warrant, Orlando Weekly reported.
(1/2) This is video of the scene after Winter Gardens police say Terryus Baker was speeding and nearly hit an officer shortly before the city’s Christmas parade reached downtown. Baker hit another car and took off running.
📸Credit: George Merola pic.twitter.com/XnMghqVTba
— Stephanie Buffamonte FOX 35 (@StephBuffamonte) December 13, 2021
Kissimmee police officer Mario Lewis, who had come to enjoy the parade in the community about 14 miles from Orlando, ended up doing more than he planned, according to WESH-TV.
“Just trying to enjoy the Christmas parade,” Lewis said. Then things turned sour.
“Somebody screeching their tires coming and a lot of screaming,” Lewis recounted.
“I stood up to see what was going on. I thought the brakes went out,” he said. “So then, the gentleman got out and started running, and I was thinking ‘oh he must’ve stole a car,’ so I started running after him.”
Lewis stated Baker did not resist when Lewis caught up to him.
Off-duty Kissimmee police officer catches car crash suspect in Winter Garden Christmas parade https://t.co/bZqgsI6RPm
— WESH 2 News (@WESH) December 14, 2021
“I announced myself as an off-duty police officer, and he went to the ground right away,” Lewis said.
The parade was canceled as police sorted out the incident, but later in the week officials announced that it would be held after all on Sunday, Dec. 19.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.