Grandfather Mountain Highland Games race ends abruptly after vehicle hits Greensboro woman

LINVILLE, NC (WGHP) – A Greensboro woman has died after a vehicle entered the start area of ​​the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games race, and a man has been charged in connection with the crash. , according to a Highway Patrol press release.

Several people hit by a vehicle before the race on Grandfather Mountain (Submitted photo)
Several people hit by a vehicle before the race on Grandfather Mountain (Submitted photo)

Beginning around 5 p.m. Thursday, runners and spectators began to fill the area around US 221 and NC 105 in Linville for “The Bear,” a 5-mile run that leads to the top of Grandfather Mountain. The race, part of the four-day celebration of Scottish culture and competitive spirit, was due to start at 7 p.m. It would end up being canceled a few minutes before its departure.

Julie Holderness, 72, of Greensboro, was in the crowd.

At 6:30 p.m., the runners begin to set up even if the road is not yet closed.

The photo of a person attending the race shows the vehicle allegedly involved: a white pickup truck with the Appalachian State University branding on the driver's side door.  (photo sent)
The photo of a person attending the race shows the vehicle allegedly involved: a white pickup truck with the Appalachian State University branding on the driver’s side door. (photo sent)

As the clock ticked down, 15 minutes before kick-off, Holderness came out to speak to someone, just as a van sped into the crowd.

Soldiers say the Ford Econoline van was being driven by James Russell Deni, 80, of Boone, who was trying to pull away after being parked and sped into a group of pedestrians.

Deni was charged with dangerous travel and felony death by vehicle.

The games organization described it as “an accident involving one vehicle and multiple pedestrians”.

Four pedestrians were involved in the incident. Two were hospitalized with leg injuries, soldiers said.

The foot race has been cancelled, although the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games are set to continue as scheduled from Friday to Sunday.

“On my behalf and on behalf of the entire Grandfather Mountain Highland Games organization and family, we are deeply saddened by tonight’s devastating event and extend our condolences to those affected,” said Steve Quillin, President of Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.

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