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7-year-old boy dies after father accidentally runs him over with pickup truck at Christmas parade

A seven-year-old boy has died after he was struck by a pickup truck driven by his father in a Christmas parade, according to a highway patrol report.

Rowan Ace Frensley was hit at the end of a parade in Tennessee on Saturday when he fell off a trailer and was struck by the vehicle’s tyres, the report said.

Police officers immediately called medics to the scene who escorted the child through heavy traffic to a local hospital, where he died from critical head injuries suffered in the accident.

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The report said his father was driving at a low speed and was preparing to let passengers off the trailer at the time of the accident.

Jerry Hire, a local resident who was in the truck with Rowan’s father, has described the accident as “the hardest thing I have ever been through”.

Rowan’s family has thanked the “outpouring of love, support and prayers” following his death and held a candlelight vigil on Sunday in front of the school where he was hit.

“Mt Juliet came out strong this afternoon to heal and shine a light for Rowan at a candlelight vigil in his honour,” local police tweeted on Sunday, as news channels reported hundreds of attendees at the event.

Captain Tyler Chandler, from Mt Juliet Police, has expressed his condolences to the family and praised the “caring and loving” community response.

Tennessee Highway Patrol is handling an investigation into the accident.

A separate GoFundMe page has raised more than $10,000 (£7,650) to help pay for funeral costs and medical expenses.

“Our hearts are very heavy with deep sadness over today’s tragic loss,” the Wilson County School district in Tennessee said on Saturday.

“We lift our strongest prayers for the family during this extremely difficult time.”

Additional reporting by AP