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Five injured in go-cart accident

Five people suffered minor injuries Sunday when a go-cart veered into the crowd watching the Northwest Water Carnival Parade in Detroit Lakes.

The Shriner go-carts are designed to do wheelies when the driver accelerates quickly -- the driver's seat goes back and the front wheels go up in the air. That's what happened on Sunday when the accelerator stuck on one go-cart, according to one witness, Detroit Lakes firefighter Steve Spaeth.

"I was across the street," he said. "He (the go-cart driver) just bounced up and ended up bouncing into the curb where the kids were -- the front wheel kind of bounced up on them ... the whole go-cart was only partially up there."

A man and four children received medical attention from police officers and EMS on the scene, and were transported by ambulance to St. Mary's Innovis Health for "treatment of mostly minor injuries," according to a news release from the Detroit Lakes Police Department.

Injured were Colton Dosmann, 4, of Chandler, Minn.; Heather Gorrison, 6, of Brooklyn Park; Josephine Caulfield, 11, of Grand Forks, N.D.; Judd Caulfield, 7, of Grand Forks; and Thomas Forseth, 49, of Bemidji.

All were transported to St. Mary's Innovis Health either by ambulance, squad car or private vehicle. No condition reports were available Wednesday morning.

"My daughter is a paramedic," Spaeth said. "She treated them and got them going. The kids weren't hurt that bad -- the parents were screaming louder than the kids -- they got a fear of what's happening."

The were bruised up and "they all had little tire marks across their legs," he said. "It looked worse than it was."

The incident occurred on West Lake Drive near Summit Avenue.

Another witness, Natalee Yocum, said she was watching the parade from the condos near Zorbaz and the accident occurred on the beach side of the street right in front of her.

"It just jumped the curb, it was doing circles," she said of the go-cart. EMS workers and firefighters were in her group and were among the first to respond after the accident.

"I ran across the street and responded," Spaeth said. "My daughter responded, a couple of guys from the Callaway Fire Department helped -- two Detroit Lakes squad cars were there right away, the (St. Mary's Innovis) EMS was there right away.

"We got that parade going again -- no sense in holding that thing up," he said.

The Shriner driving the go-cart felt terrible about the accident, Yocum said. "I don't know who I felt more sorry for -- him or the kids," she added.

The driver was Lyle Durr, 63, a member of the El Zagal Shrine in Fargo. He told The Forum newspaper that he and four other club members were driving go-carts up and down the parade route. He said he had just let off the accelerator when the engine suddenly revved up.

"It had already slowed down, and then for some reason it just revved up," he said by phone Sunday night.

The go-cart veered out of control and struck parade watchers sitting on the curb, according to a news release from Detroit Lakes Police Chief Kelvin Keena.

There didn't appear to be any mechanical defect with the go-cart, and there was no indication that Durr was impaired, the release said. He was tested for alcohol at his own request.

Durr said he was thankful that it appeared no one was seriously injured.

"I'm just still worried about how the kids are doing, but from what they told us in the emergency room, it didn't appear the injuries were serious, thank God," he said. "I'm just sorry it happened at all."

Durr said he can't recall a similar accident happening during a parade in which club members drove their go-carts.

The parade resumed shortly after the accident, which happened at 2:37 p.m.

The Shriners are all about helping kids, and "the last thing we ever want is anything bad to happen to anybody, but accidents happen," said Bryan Shinn, who handles public relations for the El Zagel Shrine. The go-cart Shriners are based in Fargo, and "those guys spend a lot of hours practicing in those things," he added.

The El-Zagel Shrine has 12 units based in cities in southern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

They include the clown unit from Jamestown, the Keystone Kops from Mayville, the Vikings from Valley City, an Escort Motor Patrol of small red Mazda Miatas, as well as motorcycles driven by the director's staff and the color guard from Detroit Lakes.

Together and as individual units, they perform in more than 100 parades a year throughout the region.

The El Zagel Shrine raises and donates about $100,000 a year to help pay transportation costs for families traveling to and from Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Every year, the 22 Shriner hospitals provide care for thousands of kids with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate -- at no charge.

Parades are part of the Shriners' fund-raising efforts, Shinn said.

"These things (accidents) happen every once in a while," he added. "We do everything we can to make sure nothing happens -- but it's not going to stop us from participating in parades."

(Mike Nowatzki of The Forum contributed to this story)