RALEIGH, NC — WRAL News has learned 11-year-old Hailey Brooks died after getting hit by a pickup truck during this past weekend’s Raleigh Christmas Parade, according to multiple sources.
Hailey Brooks was dancing in Saturday’s parade with CC & Company Dance Complex. She was struck and killed by an out-of-control pickup truck that lost its brakes.
Memorials grew Monday as the Raleigh community mourned Brooks.
The memorial along Hillsborough Street near Boylan Avenue near where the crash occurred said, “‘Hailey’, dancing in the arms of Jesus!”
Also, there is a memorial outside CC & Company Dance Complex off Six Forks Road. The dance studio is closed this week.
Driver facing five charges had multiple vehicle inspection citations
Virginia court records show 20-year-old Landen Christopher Glass had a number of non-moving violation tickets on his record, including four tickets for failure to have a vehicle inspected, with the most recent on Oct. 30.
Other tickets included improper exhaust systems and no marker lights. The online records do not specify what vehicle Glass received these tickets for.
On Monday, WRAL News traveled to Goode, Virginia, where Glass lives with his parents, according to court documents. The home had “no trespassing” signs, so from the bottom of it, WRAL News tried calling Glass and his family members.
A family member told WRAL News that Glass will not be making a statement. Glass’ family member said the family’s attorney would make a statement at a later time.
Glass was released on bond and carries a first court date of Jan. 26, 2023.
According to the arrest warrant, Glass told authorities that he “works on safety systems of cars.”
The warrant states Glass has driving violations on his record, from 2021, of “no inspection, tint violations, improper equipment and speeding.”
Posts on Glass’s Instagram profile showed him participating in dance competitions representing CC & Company Dance Complex in 2018. It is not known in what capacity he is affiliated with the company as of 2022.
His social media pages also indicate that he owned a vehicle customization company and spent a lot of time working on his pickup truck.
A tragedy at the Raleigh Christmas Parade
An out-of-control pickup truck pulling a parade float hit a girl performing with CC & Company Dance Complex, a group that has performed in the parade in the past.
The girl was taken to the hospital, where she was declared dead. Her name was not released.
Witnesses told WRAL News the driver of the white pickup truck pulling the CC & Co. Dance float was yelling that he had lost his brakes and could not stop. The truck then careened into the dancers as adults hustled them out of the road.
“All of a sudden we looked up and saw a truck on the other side of the road kind of coming towards us,” said Worth Creech, an eyewitness. “They were able to get most of the girls out of the way. Unfortunately, we saw one of the girls get run over.”
She said the truck was on a decline, seemingly pushed downhill by the weight of the float behind it.
Deena Francia was attending Saturday’s parade. She didn’t see the crash happen, but was sitting nearby.
“We were all here having a good time getting ready to celebrate the holiday then it happened,” Francia said.
On Monday, Francia put flowers at the growing memorial along Hillsborough Street.
“I just felt compelled,” Francia said. “I was heard with my grandchildren and [the girl who died] was 11. My granddaughter is 10.”
Tajes Kakade saw everything unfold along the parade route.
“It was a difficult thing to see,” Kakade said. “It sticks with you.”
Kakade explained what she’ll remember.
“Many moments have been replaying,” Kakade said. “One is seeing what happened to the girl in front of us.”
On Monday, Kakade also stopped by the memorial along Hillsborough Street.
“We came out here to get some closure,” Kakade said.
Float company owner: ‘It’s a miracle that more people weren’t hurt or killed’
Franklinton-based Triangle Float Company had 37 floats in Saturday’s parade. However, company owner Mark Harris said his floats were not involved in Saturday’s incident.
Harris doesn’t believe there is any amount of regulation that can prevent all tragedies. He does not want to denigrate the other company because he says it could’ve happened to him.
“I think it really is a miracle that more people weren’t hurt or killed,” Harris said.
However, Harris oversees his company’s vehicles and drivers. He hires them, makes sure they are licensed and that their vehicles are registered and inspected.
“These are just family businesses, they’re not moneymakers,” Harris said. “They’re really just people who are trying to spread some joy.”
The other float company involved in the crash is still unnamed as of Monday afternoon.
Harris emphasized that the most important thing for the community to do is support the people hurt by Saturday’s incident.
Auto service owner discusses what could have gone wrong with the truck
On Monday, WRAL Investigates spoke with Crossroads Auto Service owner Marcus Best about what could have gone wrong with the truck.
Best said brakes are complicated and anything from pads to drums or calipers can fail, brake lines can be contaminated or leak. While proper maintenance is crucial, inspections are not foolproof. Until more is known about Saturday’s incident, Best said he sees it as a horrible accident.
“My heart just goes out to the family because I can only imagine what they’re going through,” Best said.
WRAL Investigates also found Virginia’s brake inspection requirements tougher than North Carolina’s as mechanics must check for damaged or missing parts, defective linings and drums, fluid leakage, and contaminated pads and rotors.
NCDHHS, Greater Raleigh Merchants Association release statements
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner takes over jurisdiction over sudden, unexpected and violent deaths and completes associated examinations.
“Our hearts break for the family and friends of the young girl who died on Saturday after the incident at the Christmas parade in Raleigh,” the NCDHHS statement read. “Each patient treated through the NC Medical Examiner System has a unique story and loved ones who are in search of answers regarding their passing.
“The NC Medical Examiner System is committed to performing thorough medicolegal death investigations in each case that comes through our system.”
On Monday, the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association Executive Director Jennifer Martin also released a statement.
“The Greater Raleigh Merchants Association team is heartbroken over the tragic events that occurred on Saturday,” Martin wrote. “We are actively assisting the Raleigh Police Department’s investigation and as such, we are not in a position to comment further at this time.”