The driver of a car that plowed into members of a gay men’s chorus during a Pride parade in South Florida is apologizing to the family of the man killed in the crash.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel said Fred Johnson, 77, was identified as the driver who lost control of his vehicle during the Saturday Stonewall Pride Festival in Fort Lauderdale
Johnson, 77, and those struck by his vehicle were members of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus. James Fahy, 75, died from injuries sustained in the crash.
"This was a horrible accident and I offer my sincere regrets to all those who were impacted by this tragic event," said Johnson, 77, in a statement released through the chorus.
"I love my chorus family and the community and would never do anything to intentionally harm anyone. Please know that I hold my fellow chorus member, Jim Fahy, in my heart forever and offer my condolences to his friends and family."
The incident remains under investigation, but appears to have been an accident, police said. Johnson has told police he lost control when his vehicle started accelerating unexpectedly.
Gary Keating, 69, founding director of the chorus, and Jerry Vroegh, 67, were also hit by the vehicle, but survived, the Sentinel noted.
The newspaper said Keating was treated and released from the hospital on Saturday. Vroegh went home from the hospital on Monday.
Chorus President Justin Knight said Fahy’s loss had a significant impact on the community. "He was a longtime, valued member of our Chorus family and he will be deeply missed," Knight said. "We thank everyone for their concern, compassion and support."
Prior to the release of Johnson’s name, police had said the driver of the vehicle had ailments that prevented him from walking. Police also there was no evidence drugs or alcohol was involved.
"The early investigation now indicates it looks like it was a tragic accident, but nobody’s saying finally what it is," Wilton Manor Vice Mayor Paul Rolli told The Associated Press. Rolli was on the float in front of the chorus truck.
Meanwhile, chorus member Thomas Cusack, 61, said both Johnson and Fahy were friendly with each other and passionate about the group’s ability to encourage others through music, according to the Sentinel.
"I don’t use the word family much, but this chorus really is one," he said. He described Fahy as quiet and unassuming, the newspaper reported.
"Just a very nice man," he said. "He was friendly to everybody."
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