TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Rodeo parade spectators watched in horror Thursday as a 5-year-old girl was thrown off her mount and trampled by an out-of-control team of horses pulling a wagon. She later died.
The girl, identified by police as Brielle Boisvert, was three years younger than the age minimum stated in the parade's online entry form. Authorities said they would determine whether criminal charges were warranted.
Hundreds of people were within eyesight of the tragedy along the two-mile route of the Tucson Rodeo Parade.
``People were gasping, screaming,'' said Diane Hebert, who was near the scene of the accident.
``I saw the wagon coming around the corner out of control,'' said Hebert's husband, Henry. ``They hit the horse, her horse flared up and the girl fell off.''
Hebert said it appeared that two other girls riding beside the 5-year-old saw the horses coming at them and were able to get out of the way. Witnesses differed on whether the wagon ran over Brielle.
The girl died at University Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Darci Slaton said.
Parade spokesman Bob Johnson acknowledged that Brielle was younger than the age limit but said no one monitors the parade to confirm ages.
Police Chief Richard Miranda said investigators were interviewing witnesses and others, including the driver of the wagon.
The death was the first in the parade's 85-year history, although injuries at the event are not uncommon, Johnson said.
At last year's parade, Mayor Bob Walkup bruised an arm and his wife, Beth, suffered a concussion and whiplash when two runaway horses slammed into the rear of a 150-year-old buggy.
The event, billed as the world's longest nonmechanized parade, includes horses, marching bands, folk dancers and beauty queens. It is one of the highlights of the 82nd annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros rodeo, a weeklong event that began Monday featuring more than 700 contestants from across the U.S. and Canada.