5 taken to hospital after U-Haul crash at Cleveland Puerto Rican Festival

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 12:50 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland police said a crash late Sunday at the Cleveland Puerto Rican Festival sent five people to the hospital.

The accident took place around 9:15 p.m. at Roberto Clemente Park on Seymour Avenue in the Ohio City neighborhood.

According to Cleveland police, a 64-year-old man was driving a U-Haul truck in the park to help a vendor pack up at the end of the festival.

The driver’s foot slipped off of the brake and hit the gas, police said, causing the U-Haul to clip a Dodge truck.

The U-Haul then crashed into a vendor table and hit three people standing nearby, according to police, before coming to rest against a fence.

Cleveland police said the hit pedestrians are a 49-year-old woman, 45-year-old woman and 30-year-old man.

Cleveland EMS took the pedestrians, the U-Haul driver and the Dodge truck driver to MetroHealth following the accident.

During the crash, police said a fryer flipped and poured hot grease on the 30-year-old victim. He remains hospitalized in the burn unit.

The 49-year-old received injuries on her lower body, according to police, and the 45-year-old had a fracture to her right leg and pelvis.

Cleveland Police Sgt. Manny Velez, a member of the Hispanic Police Officers Association, one of the groups that puts on the parade and the festival, was one of the first on the scene.

“Our focus was obviously getting medical attention to both the females and the young gentleman and calming the family down and ensuring them, they would be taken care of,” Velez said.

The U-Haul driver was on the crew of one of the food vendors and was maneuvering the truck to pick up the equipment when something went wrong.

“We don’t know if it was a medical emergency that he was suffering at the moment or if there was an accelerator issue or a confusion with brake and accelerator.” Velez said, “We did talk to him afterwards and he was doing okay, I think he was injured from a fall afterwards, and he just felt horrible.”

Cleveland police said injuries to the U-Haul driver and Dodge truck driver are unknown.

The crash remains under investigation.

Editor’s Note: Below is a previous report from 19 News about the crash. Return to 19 News for updates.

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