Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Carriage wheel crushes boy at Winterhaven

• The 7-year-old, in critical condition with injuries to his lungs and throat, was riding in the vehicle when he fell out.

DAVID L. TEIBEL and LEAH TRINIDAD Citizen Staff Writers

A 7-year-old Tucson boy was in critical condition after he fell from a horse-drawn carriage his father was driving last night at the Winterhaven Festival of Lights and was run over by one of the vehicle’s wheels, police said.

Garrett R. Brigman was sitting in the carriage just behind his father when he fell shortly after 8 p.m. in the 2900 block of East Farr Street, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, a police spokesman.

”Both his lungs were crushed, and his throat was crushed,” said Traffic Detective Wayne Jacobs.

The boy had to be resuscitated by medical workers shortly after the accident, Jacobs said.

A rubber carriage tire ran over the boy before the driver – the boy’s father, Jeff Brigman – could stop the rig, police said.

The child was admitted to the pediatric intensive-care unit at University Medical Center in critical condition, said traffic Detective Wayne Reuter.

Police are looking into the accident, Reuter said.

He said the carriage was moving slowly and that it did not lurch just before the accident. The boy was moving around and ”just fell out,” he said.

He described the carriage as open, with bench seats along both sides behind the driver’s area.

The carriage is owned by the child’s family and is one of a number authorized by the festival’s organizing committee to carry visitors through the subdivision, committee members said.

The Winterhaven subdivision, near East Fort Lowell and North Country Club roads, began its annual Festival of Lights on Dec. 13. It ends Friday.

Accident warrants review

Allowing horse-drawn rides at Winterhaven’s Christmas festival will be reviewed in light of last night’s serious accident, a festival organizer said.

A boy, 7, was critically injured when he fell from a carriage driven by his father and a carriage wheel rolled over his chest, police said.

George Duffield, chairman of the festival committee, said he could not recall another accident of that magnitude during the festival.

”This is the first incident in which anyone needed hospitalization,” he said.

The committee expects to review horse-drawn ride safety after this year’s festival ends Friday, he said.

”We’re considering that, but we’re not going to take any hasty actions,” he said.

Duffield said the festival has had horse-drawn rides for 11 years. The committee oversees ride operators, insisting they have trained drivers, insurance and a business license, he said. Wagons, carriages and trolleys must pass safety inspections, he added.

- David L. Teibel

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