Eastern Oregon community rallies after parade tragedy

Dylan Thomas died after a parade accident.

BAKER CITY, ORE. - The police chief is calling it a “freak accident.” A young boy died Saturday at the Miner’s Jubilee Parade in Baker City. Dylan Thomas was riding on a float when he fell off and was struck by the rear wheels of the vehicle. It was Dylan’s seventh birthday.

It’s a tragedy that’s shaken the small eastern Oregon community. Although, it hasn’t stopped people there from coming together to lend a hand.

Balloons, flowers, and large teddy bears cover a section of 2nd Street in Baker City. Each serving as a reminder of what happened there on Saturday.

“It’s horrible. You couldn't imagine it, I mean, you don't want to imagine it. It makes you get upset right now. There's no words to describe it,” J.R. Streifel, a community volunteer said.

The loss of a 7-year-old little boy.

“Anytime that a community loses a child, it's felt throughout the community. When you lose a 7-year-old on his birthday, in one of the biggest events that this community puts on each year, it just ripples,” Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner said.

It was a day for many locals to remember the heritage and history of the small town: Miner’s Jubilee 2017. A day that was stopped due to tragedy.

“The parade part way through was canceled. So everyone knew right away that something bad had happened,” Kurt Miller, a community volunteer said.

“There’s just not enough words to describe the sorrow that the city of Baker City feels,” Chief Lohner said.

A town though coming together to help one of their own.

“I hope we never ever have to go through something like this again, but I know that if we do pull together as a community and do amazing things,” community volunteer Daniel Batchelor said.

In just hours, a community was able to raise more than $20,000 at their local rodeo. The same day tragedy had struck it.

“The buckets made their own way through town, going up and down the bleachers,” Miller said.

From quarters to $100 bills.

“It was just incredible. I mean little kids digging money out of their boots and adults pulling open their wallets,” Streifel said.

A community helping to provide a little relief.

“We know there's no way that this will replace the young man, but it will help with some of the healing, hopefully,” Streifel said.

A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help out the Thomas family.

Although, Police Chief Lohner is calling this a “freak accident,” KTVB did check in with parade organizers around the area. They tell us every event has their own rules and regulations that must be followed.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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