New Roads man dies after falling from parade float

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 10:22am

NEW ROADS – A fatal crash happened last night involving a parade participant who was killed when he fell from a Mardi Gras float. The incident occurred on LA 10 near LA 420 in Pointe Coupee Parish shortly after 5:30 p.m. following the New Roads Mardi Gras Parade.

Based on evidence at the scene and witness accounts, Troopers discovered that an occupant was riding on the tongue of a Mardi Gras float that was being pulled by a Ford F-250 after the parade ended. The float occupant, James Lee, 58, of New Roads, slipped and fell to the ground as the float was being towed forward.

The float continued rolling forward and Lee was crushed. A 1999 Dodge Pickup was following closely behind the float and also struck Lee. He sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased on the scene by the Pointe Coupee Parish Coroner’s Office.

Troopers do not suspect alcohol to have been a factor in the crash. However, both drivers voluntarily submitted breath samples to Troopers that showed they had no detectable alcohol in their systems. Troopers have also submitted a sample of Lee’s blood to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for chemical analysis.

The combination of floats, vehicles, and pedestrians during Mardi Gras can be very dangerous if additional precautions are not taken. Troopers remind motorists, float occupants, and bystanders to exercise extra caution during Mardi Gras. Drivers must be aware of their surroundings at all times, pedestrians and bystanders should be sure to keep their distance from floats and always be on the lookout for oncoming traffic, and float occupants are encouraged to remain cautious on the float at all times and only exit and enter the float when it is stopped. They should also always have a good grasp and firm footing while on the float.

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