LAKEWOOD RANCH — Laughter and dancing during Lakewood Ranch Main Street’s monthly Music on Main concert came to a screeching halt around 7:47 p.m. Oct. 5, after a light fixture fell and struck a group of children.
Capt. Larry Luh, of Manatee County Emergency Medical Services, said EMS originally received a call for a single patient mouth injury related to stage lighting, but they discovered more injuries when they arrived on scene, at the northeastern end of the plaza near Lakewood Ranch Cinemas.
Four children were treated on scene, and two were transported to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center with minor injuries, Luh said. Caretakers later took two of the children to the hospital.
Bystanders said the wind picked up suddenly and swept up a banner hanging from the disc jockey’s lights. The trellis-like light fixture toppled and landed on the children.
“Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured,” said Julia DeCastro, property manager for Lakewood Ranch Main Street and director of leasing for Lakewood Ranch Commercial Realty. “I heard from the hospital that everyone was released the same night.”
Rumors also spread that a fight between a boy and girl escalated and that the girl was pushed into the light fixture that fell. Although the incidents happened within five minutes of each other, they were separate, DeCastro said.
DeCastro said the fight occurred on the lakeshore, behind Music on Main activities.
A Sheriff’s Office report states an 11-year-old boy and a girl, whose age was not released, got into a verbal argument and then threw coffee on one another. When the girl stepped on the boy’s foot, he became angry, picked up the girl and threw her face-first into a light post. The impact caused lacerations to the girl’s face and also knocked out several teeth. She was transported to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. The boy was arrested.
DeCastro said the incidents both were the first of their kind to occur in Music on Main’s roughly seven-year history.
“We take precautions for so many other things,” she said, noting the fire marshal comes out to inspect the plaza before and during the event, among other precautions. “This was unexpected. We’re going to have to re-look at how the (DJ) sets up, or anybody sets up.
“The lights are gone,” she said. “They aren’t coming back. There will no longer be structured lights. I’m not going to take the chance of anything ever happening again.”
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].