Wrong-way driver disrupts Hillside High School's homecoming parade in Durham; Driver charged

ByAkilah Davis and ABC11 Digital Staff WTVD logo
Monday, October 16, 2023
Drivers charged after disrupting high school homecoming parade: Police
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Multiple incidents disrupted the homecoming parade for Hillside High School on Saturday.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two separate incidents disrupted the homecoming parade for Hillside High School over the weekend.

First, a person in a black Ford Mustang drove the wrong way, 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, during the parade Saturday. Then, two people on dirt bikes rode through the parade route.

ABC11 spoke with Durham City Councilman Leonardo Williams who was at the parade.

He said the car sped through the homecoming parade and put everyone nearby in harm's way.

"I heard a lady screaming, move, move, move. I turned around and there was a black car coming toward Rep. Zach Hawkins and I and we jumped out of the way. There was a deputy that tried to stop them and the car didn't slow down," he said.

North Carolina Central University Police said the driver of that vehicle was 23-year-old Jerrie Brooks. He was booked on charges of reckless driving, fleeing/eluding arrest, carrying a concealed weapon and assault with a deadly weapon.

"I was terrified. I was terrified for the children. I was terrified for the adults and crowd that was watching," said Mina Forte, president of the Hillside High School National Alumni Association.

Forte told ABC11 this year's event was particularly special because the historically African American school is celebrating 100 years of serving Durham. The parade is the annual kickoff tradition for homecoming week.

"It is something that's rich for our community," she said. They love it. We love it. It's so well supported. We get thousands of people to come out."

"They put a lot of lives in danger. And that's not, that's not, what we're asking for here in Durham. This was a day of culture. This is a day of folks coming together, family, friends, and communities to celebrate one of North Carolina's most historic black high schools, Hillside High School. And we deserve a day to have fun together," Williams said.

Williams said it's a wonder no one was hurt. He reflected on the tragedy that killed Hailey Brooks, 11, during last year's Raleigh Christmas Day Parade.

"I didn't want this to be the Raleigh story because another life was taken because of a vehicle out of control during a pedestrian parade," he said. "The first thing I thought was oh my gosh. Are we about to get hit?"

Durham Police Department confirmed the two dirt bikers were also arrested. They were identified as 19-year-olds Marcus Devon Wilder Jr. and Curtis Eugene Calloway Jr.

Parade organizers said it's an annual tradition going on for nearly two decades. They're thankful nobody was hurt and are already talking about how to make the route more secure next year.

"If it means we need to have more officer presence, we will pay for that. If it means we need metal or wooden barricades at every intersection along the way, we will ensure that happens. We want to continue this for our children and our community because it is important," Mine Forte of the Hillside High School National Alumni Association said.