BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — December 8, 2023
The festive atmosphere of the Bakersfield Christmas Parade was abruptly disrupted on Thursday when an alleged drunk driver struck three spectators along the parade route at 21st and H streets in downtown Bakersfield. The incident led to a delay in the parade’s commencement.
Local authorities reported that the collision occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m., prompting emergency crews to rush to the scene. The Bakersfield Police Department confirmed that three individuals were seriously injured in the crash, and alcohol was deemed a contributing factor. The suspected driver, a 72-year-old man, was promptly taken into custody.
According to police statements, officers present in the vicinity for parade security heard the accelerating vehicle and witnessed the moment it collided with three men—a 21-year-old, a 42-year-old, and a 77-year-old. Bakersfield Fire Department Station 1, located nearby, provided immediate aid to the victims, who were subsequently listed in stable condition.
Investigators revealed that the driver’s truck, initially parked in an alley west of H Street between 21st and 20th streets, reversed at a high speed, striking the paradegoers. The vehicle continued its backward trajectory, crossing 21st Street before coming to a stop near the fire station at 21st and H Streets.
The Bakersfield Christmas Parade, scheduled to commence, faced a delay of approximately 45 minutes due to the incident. The parade route was adjusted, and the festivities eventually began just before 7 p.m.
The Bakersfield Police Department assured the public that the investigation was ongoing. Further details about the suspected driver, including his identity, were promised to be released “as the investigation allows.” Individuals with information related to the incident are urged to contact the “Bakersfield Police Department at 661-327-7111.”
This unfortunate incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of safety measures during public events, prompting both organizers and law enforcement to reassess security protocols for future gatherings.