The future of SDCC ZombieWalk: San Diego, held annually during Comic-Con International, is uncertain after a car drove into a crowd of participants and spectators Saturday, injuring three. A scheduled Oct. 26 event has been called off.
“Yes, the October walk is canceled,” organizers posted on their Facebook page. “We are evaluating continuing at all, at this point.”
Accounts of Saturday’s incident vary, but the San Diego Police Department says Honda Accord driven by a deaf man was stopped at Second and Island avenues at 5:30 p.m. as the procession of hundreds of participants in zombie makeup lumbered by. After waiting several minutes, the 48-year-old driver started rolling slowly into the crowd because his children, who are also deaf, were frightened. According to police, several people the surrounded the car and began hitting it, shattering the windshield. That’s when the father reportedly drove forward again, striking the 64-year-old woman. The crowd chased after the car as the family drove toward a police officer.
While many witnesses contend that zombie walkers and onlookers only surrounded the car after it moved into the crowd, others have blamed the incident on participants and “angry drunk spectators.”
ZombieWalk organizers defended the event on Facebook, pointing to a video of the the accident. “No zombies touching car that we can see,” the group states. “Man sits on hood of car, after car attempts to force way through people in crosswalk, nobody beating on car … we expect an immediate correction and retraction from ALL media who have claimed otherwise. […] We absolutely do NOT condone the actions of those who sat on the car and it is in our walk guidelines not to approach or touch cars. Has been for a long time. It’s clear those people were not part of our walk.”
Responding to a question about securing a police escort for next year’s event, the group’s representative wrote, “We had escort. IF there is a next year, we’ll discuss what needs to happen with those it needs to be discussed with.”
The 64-year-old woman, who appears to have been a passerby, was taken to the hospital with a possible broken arm. The driver was cited by police but not criminally charged. The incident is under investigation.
ZombieWalk isn’t sanctioned by Comic-Con International.