DAMASCUS, Va. (AP) — Witnesses said a car drove into a crowd at a parade in a small southwestern Virginia mountain town Saturday and hurt several people, but the nature of their injuries wasn't immediately known.
It happened around 2:30 p.m. during the Hikers Parade at the Trail Days festival, an annual celebration of the Appalachian Trail in Damascus, near the Tennessee state line about a half-hour drive east of Bristol.
A call to Damascus police was handled by the Washington County Sheriff's Office. A sheriff's dispatcher said she had no immediate information. State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says troopers have been sent to the scene but she had no further information. She said Damascus police were handling the release of information.
Four helicopters arrived to airlift victims to area hospitals. An emergency room worker at Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon said she didn't have any information before hanging up.
What caused the car to drive into the crowd wasn't immediately known. It appeared to come from a side street, and a thud could be heard. People yelled stop, and at some point, the car finally stopped.
Witnesses said the car had a handicapped parking sticker and it went more than 100 feet before coming to a stop.
"He was hitting hikers," said Vickie Harmon, a witness from Damascus. "I saw hikers just go everywhere."
Damascus resident Amanda Puckett, who was watching the parade with her children, ran to the car, where she and others lifted the car off those pinned underneath.
"Everybody just threw our hands up on the car and we just lifted the car up," she said.
There were ambulances in the parade ahead of the hikers and paramedics on board immediately responded to the crash.