RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The 11-year-old girl who was hit and killed in the 2022 Raleigh Christmas Parade was honored throughout this year's parade.
Hailey Brooks was performing with CC & Co. dancers during the Nov. 19 parade when a truck towing a float malfunctioned.
The driver of the truck, 20-year-old Landen Glass, was heard yelling out of his window that he could not stop the vehicle. Parade watchers and officers rushed to the side of the truck, eventually bringing it to a stop.
However, by the time it stopped, the truck had already hit Brooks. She was rushed to the hospital but could not be saved.
Records show Glass had been charged numerous times for vehicle violations in Virginia. He also now faces misdemeanor charges related to the crash that killed Brooks.
A ceremonial balloon release took place early Saturday morning to remember Hailey.
"I think it's important that we gather here today to remember Hailey and the light that she shined, and to honor her and the Brooks family and what took place last year. Knowing that we must go on, the parade must go on but there's a strength in the community and there's a strength among the organizers who are putting this parade together to remember #ShineLikeHailey," Focus Church pastor Kris Weiss said after the balloon release.
Her life was also remembered during the beginning of the parade with a moment of silence. People also wore special pins throughout the event and a mural has been created in her honor.
The 2023 Raleigh Christmas Parade almost didn't happen.
The City of Raleigh abruptly pulled the permit for the parade in September, a move that stunned organizers and Brooks' family alike.
City leaders said the decision was made "out of an abundance of caution for parade participants and spectators, as well as respect for Hailey Brooks' family and friends."
However, the Brooks family said the city did not consult them at all. In fact, they said they opposed the decision to cancel the parade. The family does have an active wrongful-death lawsuit against several defendants, but said instead of canceling the parade they "would have urged the City to proceed with the Parade after implementing basic, common-sense safety protocols that should have been in place in 2022."
City leaders then reached out to parade organizers offering to allow the 2023 parade with marching bands, dancers and other organizations to be involved without any motorized floats or vehicles.
The Greater Raleigh Merchants Board quickly approved the City of Raleigh's new proposal to remove all motorized floats and vehicles.