Woman killed after van hits runners at Grandfather Mountain

LINVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A woman was killed and at least three people were injured when a van ferrying people to a runners’ race in North Carolina crashed into a crowd, authorities said.

The N.C. State Highway Patrol said Friday that race participants and pedestrians had gathered in a parking lot Thursday evening ahead of “The Bear,” a 5-mile (8-kilometer) run that is part of the annual Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain.

According to a highway patrol news release, as people were gathered, a van attempted to leave from a parked position and accelerated into the crowd. The driver of the van was identified as James Russell Deni, 80, of Boone.

Julie A. Holderness, 72, of Greensboro, was killed, the patrol said. At least three other pepople were treated for injuries, while a fourth person refused treatment and declined interview requests from investigators.

The patrol charged Deni with misdemeanor death by vehicle and unsafe movement, the news release said. It’s not known if Deni has an attorney.

Highland Games officials canceled the race, which would have started not far from the crash site and ended atop Grandfather Mountain. The remaining activities associated with the games will continue through Sunday as scheduled, according to a statement from organizers.

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