8-year-old suffers broken pelvis after being run over by parade float

An eight-year-old girl is expected to return home Monday night after being run over by a parade float Sunday afternoon in the Murrells Inlet Christmas parade.

Jennifer Hoffman, the manager of Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital tells NewsChannel 15 that the girl's mother works there, and was riding on the float they entered in Sunday's parade.

Highway Patrol says the child fell from the back of a pickup truck and was run over by the trailer float. However, there are conflicting reports from vet hospital employees that were the closest to the girl, Hoffman says.

One person told Hoffman the she was on the float, hopped off and stumbled. Another said she was leaning to the side and lost balance.

Hoffman says the girl suffered a broken pelvis, but won't have to require surgery, just recovery time at home.

After the accident, some are wondering about safety. Some parades in the area, like Hartsville, don't allow participants to ride in the back of pick up trucks.

"Our hearts goes out to them and we want to be in prayer for their family. But you know we're just not gonna take that chance going forward in the past or going forward with having individuals ride in the back of pick up trucks or on unsafe floats as things like that in our parade. Safety is our number one priority," Adam Mathews, Hartsville Special Projects Director said.

Murrells Inlet 2020 sponsored the parade. When asked if they will consider not allowing trucks in future years, Executive Director Susan Sledz said she was unsure at this time. Sledz also released this statement in full:

"It was an accident. Our focus is first, foremost and only on the well-being of the child. Our thoughts and prayers are with the young girl and her family. The parade rules and regulations state that each participant is responsible for the safety of their members and the spectators and that no actions should be taken that would endanger members of the parade group or the spectators. It was an accident. Please, let's stay focused on the child's well-being. Let's just show some respect for the family and the child. "

Safety was something Hoffman says they discussed too.

"We had adults at every point, and talked about safety before parade. It just happened so quickly. We had adults within a reach they couldn't get to her quick enough," she said.

Hoffman says they will continue to keep safety in mind but plan to participate in future Murrells Inlet Christmas parades. She also wanted to thank the community for the support for the little girl.