Teen-ager crushed by parade truck

Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A teen-ager died during the Golden Days Parade when he was crushed by a semi-truck pulling a float.

David Lee Truex, 15, a North Pole High School athlete, had been walking beside the Silver Spur Dancers handing out fliers throughout Saturday's parade. As the float neared the Fairbanks Curling Club on Second Avenue, he jumped onto a step between the truck's cab and trailer to rest.

When he tried to get down, he tripped and fell underneath the truck tire, according to a dancer who saw the accident. Truex died instantly, police detective Tara Tippett said.

The accident occurred at 11:47 a.m. in front of people lining the parade route. The parade was celebrating the 50th year of Golden Days, an annual summer celebration commemorating Fairbanks' founding as a gold rush town in 1902.

Emergency vehicles were on the scene in two minutes, police officer Ron Bowers said. A nurse from the parade crowd tried to help Truex while rescue crews were on the way, he said.

''We try to tell people not to do that (jump on trucks or floats). It's just very unfortunate, especially during the Golden Days parade. It's impossible to tell exactly what happened until we've interviewed all the witnesses and the driver,'' Bowers said.

No charges are expected to be filed against the truck's driver, John Sadler, 27.

The driver of a truck traveling behind the Silver Spur Dancers said the trucks were traveling at 2 miles per hour when the accident occurred.

The Silver Spurs float truck, a white Kenworth owned by Airport Equipment Rentals, was pulling a decorated flatbed trailer for the country and western dancers, who participate in Dance 4 Fun classes at the Silver Spur nightclub.

Dan Schaaf, an owner of Dance 4 Fun, said he didn't know what happened. ''We had spotters everywhere. Somebody just made a mistake.''

Truex was a friend of one of the dancers and was distributing fliers about dance classes.

Truex, the son of Michael and LeeAnne Kozie, had lived in North Pole five years and had completed ninth grade at North Pole High School. He was on the junior varsity football team and varsity wrestling team.

''He was an outgoing kid,'' said Walter Kozie, Truex's uncle. ''He was always willing to do something if you needed work done around the house.''

Stepfather Michael Kozie said Truex had a joyous personality. ''He always made friends with everybody. He was a very giving person and would do anything to help anyone in need.''

Kara Moriarty, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, called the accident a sad occurrence for Golden Days.

''We are just devastated here,'' she said.

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