Unexpected float in Crooked River Roundup Parade

Totaled car on flatbed truck offers special message

Unexpected float at Prineville Parade

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - Mangled metal, broken glass, police tape.

Not exactly a sight you'd expect or like to see at a parade.

However, it was exactly the sight that those along Third Street in Prineville saw during the Crooked River Roundup Parade on Saturday morning.

A totaled car on a flatbed trailer was one of the floats on display. And while visually shocking, the medium left a message.

"It's a moment to reflect on the reality of driving -- you're within three to five feet of an injury," said Lee Houston, who's been to the last seven Crooked River Roundups.

The vehicle last touched the road on June 8th. That's when 17-year old Maddi Higgins was in the passenger seat as she and her 18-year old boyfriend, Hayden Soyk, were driving in the Portland suburb of West Linn.

Police said Soyk was speeding when his car struck a power pole.  He died the night of the crash; Higgins died the next day.

On Saturday, the same car from the horrific accident was set up for display on a trailer.  A banner featuring a picture of Higgins and the message, "In Loving Memory" slowly rolled down Third Street.

The man behind the wheel of the truck that towed it was Jerry Burger, a Farmers Insurance agent, and Maddi's cousin.

"Unfortunately, I've had my share of seeing teen deaths in my agency, from auto accidents," Burger said.

"And unfortunately, this one was a little too close to home."

For Burger, the float was to call attention not to the crash, but one of the few positive results of the horrific incident.

"Maddi's death actually saved the lives of five others," he said.  

The teen's heart, lungs, and kidneys were transplanted following her death.

Burger's hope was that by seeing the rolling display, some spectators were compelled to consider becoming organ donors themselves.

"I really think we painted a good picture and got our message across," he said.

"If it saves one person from driving too quickly, and saves one life, then the message got through." 

To learn more about how to save a life by becoming an organ donor, visit

By clicking Submit users are agreeing to follow the Terms of Service
comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular Stories