“I wasn’t getting enough attention lately, so I decided I had to do something,” joked Bob Sullivan, a REVIEW columnist after falling under the float before Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Forest Park.
Sullivan, 72, was at the unfortunate end of a float accident after he was pushed back and run over by the float, at approximately 1 p.m. on March 5 in the parade’s staging area.
The driver was with Associated Attractions, the company that created the float for the newspaper.
Carl Nyberg, political writer and contributing writer for the REVIEW witnessed the event.
“I was sitting on the float on the forward portion and when the entry ahead of our float started to go,” Nyberg said, “our driver started the float and Bob was between the vehicle and the float, facing the float; he was knocked backwards, fairly hard.”
Sullivan hit his head on the asphalt, lost consciousness briefly and scraped the back of his head.
“We immediately started yelling for the driver to stop the vehicle. At the time it seemed like a long time between when the people realized there was something wrong and the driver heard the information, processed it and applied the brakes,” Nyberg said. Paula Schewe, 27, another rider on the float also witnessed the event from her vantage point.
“I was sitting on the float and he was leaning against it, talking to someone and the driver started driving and he was trying to jump on the float while it was moving but instead he got pushed over,” she said.
The driver slammed on the breaks when he heard the distress calls from float riders.
Schewe asked someone to call 911 and an ambulance was dispatched to the scene, but before it arrived the drivers and surrounding crowd realized they had to get the float off of Sullivan.
“Backing the vehicle up didn’t get the float off of him,” Nyberg said. “It ended up driving back over his leg.”
Worried about Sullivan’s hip and legs, and realizing that backing up wouldn’t work, REVIEW personnel including Nyberg, Anthony Buonomo, Mike Braam and Mike Deegan; Danny and L.A. Goodman, among others; and a local paramedic who was on hand for the parade lifted the float and moved it off of Sullivan, while Schewe, who has medical training, took Sullivan’s pulse and attempted to speak to him.
“He seemed somewhere between conscious and unconscious, he wasn’t out cold but he wasn’t responding in any sort of intelligent way,” Nyberg said,
By the time the ambulance arrived, though, Sullivan was conscious and attempting to move.
“I didn’t want him to move,” Schewe said. “But he was moving by himself. He was disoriented but he was alert.”
Sullivan was taken to Loyola Medical Center, where emergency room personnel checked him out.
He was in high spirits after the accident, joking with his friends in the emergency room.
Sullivan suffered a scrape on the back of his head and”surprisingly”had no broken bones. After an MRI and x-rays he was given a clean bill of health and returned home with his wife Barbara.
“It is one of the things that is usually surprising how resilient the human body is to injuries,” Nyberg said.