Shriner dies after 'freak accident' in Bartlett parade - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shriner dies after 'freak accident' in Bartlett parade

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

BARTLETT, TN (WMC-TV) - A Shriner died early Sunday morning following an accident during Saturday's Bartlett Christmas parade.

Sam Leeper died at The MED after what officials called a "freak accident" during the parade, on Stage Road in Bartlett.

According to a police report, when the accident happened, Leeper was sitting on the rear trunk lid of the first of four shriner dune-buggies in the parade.  As the vehicle's driver made a left-hand U-turn to head to back of the line, Leeper "fell" off, hitting his "head on the ground."

Witnesses told police Leeper was "unresponsive and not breathing" as they tried to help.  Paramedics rushed Leeper to The Med.  Doctors told Bartlett Police they "believed the impact with the ground caused major hemorrhaging in Mr. Leeper's brain."

He died early Sunday morning.

Paramedics told police Leeper smelled of a "moderate odor" of "intoxicating beverages."  But police said there was no evidence that the dune buggy driver was drunk.

Officials at the Shriner Temple declined comment other than to say that alcohol was not involved, and that Leeper died in what was quote "strictly a freak accident."

The Shelby County Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy on Leeper to determine exactly how he died.

Investigators said no one currently faces any charges in the accident.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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