RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Saturday evening at least two thousand people gathered to remember a girl who died after an incident involving a pickup truck pulling a float at the Raleigh Christmas Parade last month — but also to show support for the driver of that truck, Landen Glass who is facing multiple charges.
The men who organized the event said the tragedy has impacted so many people including Glass. The gathering Saturday night, held at Buffalo Road Athletic Park, involved car and truck communities.
Organizers said they never imagined how many people would show up.
“The truck community, I mean it’s stronger than what people think, clearly,” said Austin Ferrell.
Raleigh police said Glass was driving the truck that was pulling a float just before 11-year-old Hailey Brooks was hit and died on November 19.
Glass, 20, of Virginia is facing several charges including misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and reckless driving. Hailey was a performer with a dance company in the parade.
Ferrell said what started as a small event — a single social media post — turned into the support of a few thousand Saturday night. People traveled from across the country for the event, which organizers said was to support two families after the deadly parade incident.
Some say Glass did everything he could in the moment of the parade, including yelling and warning others that the truck wouldn’t stop.
“It struck everyone as a whole because the incident that happened to Landen could happen to any of us,” Ferrell said.
Some people argue that Glass is possibly facing jail time for a situation he had no control over.
Warrants in the case said there were improper brakes inadequate to control the movement of the pickup truck, and improper equipment to stop the vehicle or the brakes without having at least one operating brake maintained in good working order.
Ferrell spoke about Glass and what he is facing.
“We heard that he’s not sleeping, he’s not doing well, he’s got to live with that at the end of the day,” Ferrell said.
By 8 p.m. Saturday, the park hit capacity for attendance and Raleigh police kept any other vehicles from entering. Earlier, there was a line of five miles of traffic approaching the park.
During the Saturday event, people gathered to light candles and hoped to provide a sense of healing for everyone involved.
Zachary Thibodeau who traveled from Fort Bragg said it was important for him to be there. Thibodeau said he and his friends are close to Glass’s age and couldn’t imagine what the 20-year-old is having to go through.
“He’s already going to have problems waking up in the morning knowing he took a life, and not on purpose,” Thibodeau said.
Ferrell said the event will benefit the 11-year-old girl’s family.