The 186th annual St.Patrick's day parade ended in tragedy this afternoon after an 19 year-old boy was run over by a float and killed.
At 2:25 this afternoon, on the corner of Peel and St. Catherine streets , police say the young man hopped off the "Marianopolis College " float for a few minutes and then tried to scramble back on when he lost his footing and apparently fell underneath a wheel.
They say they believe alcohol was a factor.
"The information we have is that at one point, he was on the float. It's very early in the investigation to figure out how all this happened. There are a whole bunch of possibilities." said Anie Lemieux of the Montreal police.
Marching right behind the float was a group of dancers, many of whom witnessed the event in horror.
"I couldn't believe what I was looking at, " said one, " I was frozen in shock."
" I starting crying as soon as I relaized what was goin on we felt helpless to stop anything."
Other witnesses watched in shock from the sidewalk,
"When I saw him he was really stuck between the two wheels his head stuck there", said one man..
"I saw a person fall off, and I saw the truck go over, go up and then down," said Elizabeth Steinberg, who witnessed the scene.
"I saw a hand - that was it. I was yelling 'Stop the truck! Stop the truck!'... I'm shaking right now. I'm traumatized."
Montreal police Const. Anie Lemieux said conflicting eyewitness accounts had made it difficult to determine exactly how the man became pinned.
The parade started at noon and ran east along Ste. Catherine Street.
Police quickly cordoned off the area and moved people away from the scene as ambulance and emergency workers tended to the victim.
This isn't the first time an accident has happend during the parade.
In 2002 a Concordia student's legs were crushed when he fell under the wheels of a truck carrying a float.
Police have not confirmed the man's indentity.