Parma Heights safety protocols in place following horrific crash last summer

Parma Heights safety protocols in place following horrific crash last summer

PARMA HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - A tragic accident two years ago is still on the minds of many in Parma Heights. As summer concerts and events are under way at Commons Park, many are wondering what's being done to keep people safe.

In August 2016, a car plowed into a crowd of people attending a concert in the park. Seven people were seriously hurt. Kathleen McDonald, 61, of Parma, died on Aug. 23 of complications due to injuries from the crash.

Nancy Gielas, 68, of Hinckley also died.

The 74-year-old driver, Donna Chidsey, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 36 months probation, a $1,000 fine and drivers license suspended for five years.

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Two years later, safety barricades can be seen in the same place the dance floor was in 2016.

"I thought it was really good what they did. It's kind of almost impossible to get through," said one mother, Rachel Slaughter. She added, "I think it's a shame that happened because it's such a beautiful space and I think it should be used the best we can as a city. I don't think the concert should have stopped so I'm glad they're still going on with them."

Parma Heights Mayor Mike Byrne said safety is extremely important and understand why some many have reservations after remembering the horrific scene.

"That's understandable. Absolutely is. If they have any hesitation please give us a call whatever we can do to mend their concerns or fears we will attempt to do. Come check it out for themselves, see what safety precautions we've put in place and I hope that they feel comfortable enough to attend the concert," Mayor Byrne said.

More than 100 people are expected to go to the concerts and kids events at Commons Park this weekend.

Friday night kicks off at 7:00 p.m. with the Flags of Honor event where there will be 700 flags honoring Ohio's 299 fallen heroes who have given their lives since 9/11.

On Saturday, Kids in the Commons goes from 12:00-5:00. There will be a DJ and free admission for residents to the pool and waterpark. There will also be balloons, magic, and bubblepalooza.

Sunday, the concert begins at 6:30 p.m. with Eric Heights Brass Ensemble. The 2018 Summer Bands Concerts continue through August 19th.

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