Skip to comments.Family Speaks Out About Cub Scout's Death
Posted on 12/05/2006 5:50:04 PM PST by Coleus
We're hearing from the family of a young boy, who died after falling off a float at a New Hampshire Christmas Parade. On Monday, Thomas Fogarty's family spoke for the first time about the 9-year-old boy who was celebrating Christmas with his fellow Cub Scouts. The float -- being pulled by a trailer through downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire -- pulled Thomas Fogarty to his tragic death. "At this time, we believe that Thomas somehow fell from the float and was run over by the trailer's double-axle wheels," said Chief Michael Magnant of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Police Department.
Thomas' family released this statement on Monday:
"Foremost our family would like to thank the emergency and rescue personnel for all their valiant efforts. We also would like to thank the outpouring of support of the community that we have received. We ask that you please keep everyone involved in this tragic accident in your thoughts and prayers. Thomas was a beautiful, bright, energetic, and life-loving boy. He was a third-grader at Greenland Central School and loved being a Cub Scout. He enjoyed reading and sports especially swimming, baseball and basketball. In his short life, he fulfilled many of his dreams, including seeing his first Red Sox game at Fenway Park this year along with his younger brother Andrew.
Although this is a tragic and sad time in our lives, we believe that something positive will come out of this. The family has decided to set up a memorial fund at his school to benefit enrichment programs. Donations may be made to Thomas Edward Fogarty memorial fund c/o Greenland Central School, 70 Post Road, Greenland, N.H., 03840. Last we ask that you give your children an extra hug tonight and value the time that you have together."
The Christmas Parade is an annual celebration in the city. Thomas was taking part with 15 other scouts. Now the candle-lit memorial outside his family's Greenland home pays a silent tribute to the fun-loving third grader. The parade was delayed for about an hour, and most onlookers had no idea what had happened. Both the float and the truck have been impounded by police for a thorough mechanical investigation. For now, Thomas' family reminds everyone how precious life is.
Too bad it had to be in reference to a terrible happening.
....or...was that the intent?
We report, you decide.
There are no hand hold and no guard rails. Nine year olds are too fidgety to be on a float like that.
One pothole and some kid is going to roll off.
9-year-old Thomas Fogarty was riding on the float with his Cub Scout troop moments before he was killed.
Fogarty died after he was run over by this float in Portsmouth's annual holiday parade Saturday.
OMG, I can't imagine dealing with something like this as a parent or the person who was driving/pulling the float. I have a 9 year old that is a Cub Scout and I would die if anything happened to him.
As an aside, a float in the local Christmas parade in Anderson, SC this past weekend was driven by an extremely drunk driver, who once through the parade route, was said to have driven off at about 50-60 MPH with a number of children and adults on the float screaming for him to stop; the float was said to have become airborne when it bumped over a train track. The driver was arrested and faces a number of charges including child endangerment, kidnapping, DWI, and a number of others. Fortunately, no one was hurt...this could have been a disaster of the worst magnitude.
How horrible. Our cub scout pack wouldn't allow the boys to ride on any floats, etc., for fear of this very thing happening.
I can't imagine the pain of losing a young man like this. Extra prayers being said tonight for this family.
From BSA National Standards / SAFETY.....
"Parade Floats and Hayrides
The BSA rule prohibiting the transportation of passengers in the backs of trucks or on trailers may be tempered for parade floats or hayrides, provided that the following points are strictly followed to prevent injuries:
1. Transportation to and from the parade or hayride site is not allowed on the truck or trailer.
2. Those persons riding, whether seated or standing, must be able to hold on to something stationary.
3. Legs should not hang over the side.
4. Flashing lights must illuminate a vehicle used for a hayride after dark, or the vehicle must be followed by a vehicle with flashing lights."
Looks like the local Scout folks have some explaining to do if requirements #2 and/or #3 were not complied with...
Yes, and from what I see in the picture, the float was pretty crappy. I looks like the kids made it. I guess since the float was so low to the ground they thought that nobody would get hurt. It's such a tragedy.
Indeed. Just like those other Boy Scout deaths.
This is SO SAD!
Prayers for the family!!!!
I don't see any safety railing. Is that just an optical illusion?
Me neither. How devastating to everyone. I have two cubs and am even wearing my leader uniform now as I just got home from a den meeting.
If it turns out that the local Scout unit did not comply with the BSA's standards, then the BSA will not support the unit or it's sponsor should they be sued, nor will the BSA's liability insurance be available.
The BSA has safety guidelines. They require that each time a unit does any activity other than meeting at their normal meeting place, the unit must file a Tour Permit. That Tour Permit includes a signature space where one of the leaders going on the trip certifies that they have a copy of the BSA's "Guide to Safe Scouiting" (available at their Service Centers and on their web site for free) and have read it. The unit is obliged to conform to the policies in the Guide (a.k.a. 'G2SS'), and are told that one of the conditions to having protection from the BSA's liability insurance is that the activity where the liability comes from is conducted in conformance with the G2SS. This is doubtless a condition imposed by the insurance company - they won't pay unless the incident occurred while the activity complied with the G2SS. It's not the BSA making the call here.
They are just as responsible for putting people in leadership positions.
Actually, no. They are not. Leaders for Packs, Troops, Crews, etc. are recruited and chosen by the unit sponsor, not by the BSA. It is the reponsibility of the sponsor to know who the people are that they are choosing to be leaders for the children of the community. If they don't know them and have a good judgement of their character and ability, they're not supposed to sign them up. The BSA does run a nation-wide legal check to see if there are any protection orders or felony convictions, DUI's, child endangerment or other such things on the person's records (using the applicant's Social Security number and driver's licence), but that's all they can do. It's the sponsor's job to hire, supervise, and fire leaders.
If those people were ignoring the rules of the BSA, shouldn't the BSA have done something about it?
How would the BSA know? The BSA has about 4000 professional staff. All the other members are either Scouts or volunteer Scouters (Scouters being Cubmasters, Den Leaders, etc.). How would the BSA be aware that a Pack has put some kids onto a float that had no railings or safety restraints, especially at the very time of the parade itself?
The BSA provides program materials, training materials, guidelines, etc. to community organizations so that they can conduct the Scouting program. The BSA itself does not conduct that program and has no way of doing so. It's up to the community organization to see that it's run properly. If someone tells the local BSA organization that they know that a particular organization is ignoring policies, then the BSA can and does investigate and do what it can to correct the situation, including pulling the sponsor's unit charters. But there's no way for it to observe all the activities of the tens of thousands of sponsoring organizations and units in real time, nor is there any way for it to conduct investigations, outside of what's available in legal records, of every single individual that volunteers for Scouting. That's the sponsors' job; that's what they agree to when they sign a charter agreement and the Adult Application.
The BSA's insurance is not supposed to pay for everything. It's supplemental; it's supposed to pay for what your own insurance won't pay for. And from what you describe, it's not clear whether we're talking about liability insurance or health insurance, which is a whole different issue.
I'm terribly sorry about this boy's tragic death. As a veteran of six Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, we were always wearing safety harnesses while the float was in motion. The tether attached to the harnesses was too short to permit the rider to reach the ground.
What a horrible story.
A Scoutmaster is not paid. He is a volunteer. He does not work for the BSA. The BSA did not recruit him or her. The SM reports to the Unit Committee, who are recruited by and are responsible to the sponsor. Neither they or the leaders are paid by the BSA. I am a member of the BSA but I do not work for it. There are about 4000 people who are paid by the BSA and I'd not contest it's liability for their actions, but the 1,000,000 adult volunteers are a different story.
Hm. Well, I have to admit that my understanding of the BSA health insurance is shakier than perhaps it should be. I'd hate to think that the BSA is not meeting it's obligations here, but I'm not going to say it's not possible. If so, it would be shameful.
How sad. I remember my son at this age; just a delight. His parents must be heart-broken.