Published July 17, 2017 at 01:01PM

Tragic Saturday
Dylan Thomas fell from a float, was run over by a trailer


One of Baker City’s favorite community events turned tragic Saturday morning when a 7-year-old boy fell from a float in the Miners Jubilee parade and was killed when he was run over by the trailer on which he had been riding.

Dylan S. Thomas, who turned 7 on Saturday, died in the accident, which happened about 11:17 a.m. on Second Street at Court Avenue.

Emergency responders, some of whom were also in the parade and had just passed that intersection a few minutes earlier, rushed to Dylan’s aid, along with an ambulance from the Baker City Fire Department, which is just two blocks to the south.

Life Flight was launched immediately as is standard procedure in any major trauma event, but did not transport Dylan, Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner said.

Dylan was taken by ambulance to St. Alphonsus Medical Center. He died at the hospital.

Jeff Hale, who is a cousin of Dylan’s mother, Megan Thomas, said he drove straight to Baker City from his home in Christmas Valley when he learned about the accident.

Hale said several of Megan’s other relatives and friends have also traveled to Baker City, many of them coming from Medford, Klamath Falls and Portland.

Hale said the family wants to thank Baker City residents for their kindness and generosity.

“On behalf of the family I want to say how thankful we are to the community,” Hale said this morning. “The support has been overwhelming. We thank you for your continue support and prayers. Baker City is a pretty special place.”

Dylan was riding on a float sponsored by the Baker County YMCA.

Hale said Dylan’s older sister, Kaydence, who’s 10, was with him on the float.

“It was just so traumatizing,” Hale said.

The YMCA’s board of directors sent the Herald a statement:

“The Baker County YMCA board of directors, employees and volunteers extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dylan Thomas. We too feel the pain of your loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

“For those wanting to offer financial support to the Thomas Family, a benevolence fund has been setup at the Baker City Community Bank, located at 1190 Campbell St.

“Counselors are available for grief support both Monday and Tuesday at Total Health located at the hospital. This is a free service and open to the public.

“The outpouring of love and support within our community is truly extraordinary and necessary in a time of such great loss.”

In addition to the fund at Community Bank, there is a GoFundMe account, set up by Hale, to which people can donate to the Thomas family.

The account is at https://www.gofundme.com/dylan-thomas-memorial-fund/

Local residents worked with Baker City Police to schedule a candlelight vigil that brought an estimated 300 people to the Baker County Courthouse lawn Saturday night.

Also on Saturday evening, donation buckets were distributed among the crowd at the bull riding competition.

The effort yielded $10,483 in cash and $1,000 in checks, said Kurt Miller, who with J.R. Streifel and others coordinated the fundraising effort.

Miller said this morning that he expects the donation total will rise, as several businesses and individuals have also pledged to help.

Also, the bull riding champion, Roscoe Jarboe of New Plymouth, Idaho, donated $1,000 of his $10,000 prize to Dylan’s family.

“It shows what a wonderful community we have,” Miller said. “Little kids were digging in their pockets.”

The accident happened about 15 minutes after the parade started.

In a press release Saturday, the Baker City Police Department noted that: “although all indications are that this was a tragic accident, the Baker County Major Crime Team, along with patrol units from the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Baker City Police Department are working with District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff to thoroughly investigate the incident.”

Lohner was at the front of the parade driving the department’s sporty 2015 Dodge Challenger with his two grandsons, 6-year-old Olin and 3-year-old Lyle, riding with him and waving to the crowds lining the streets.

When the accident happened, Lohner said Reserve Commander Jerry Boyd took charge at the scene while Lohner worked his way back to the accident site. Boyd rerouted a portion of the parade entries to First Street and some made their way down Main Street. The remainder of the event was canceled.

Along with the emergency responders, the accident was witnessed by many dozens of people lining Second Street for the parade, a signature event of the annual Miners Jubilee.

Lohner said the department put out a call to the police department’s chaplaincy program and three pastors responded to meet with police and fire department personnel who were called to the accident. Two other pastors also offered their support.

See more in the July 17, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.



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