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Community holds candlelight vigil for child killed at parade

A memorial for Rowan Frensley was set up outside Mt. Juliet Middle School. (Photo by Sarah Tate)

What began as a day to celebrate the joy of the season suddenly turned tragic after a 7-year-old boy was killed at the Mt. Juliet Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Around 12:20 p.m., police were made aware of an injured child in the parking lot of Mt. Juliet Middle School and responded to the scene. Police rendered aid to Rowan Frensley, age 7, while medics made their way to the scene.

According to police, the Tennessee Highway Patrol was requested to investigate any serious injury crash in Mt. Juliet due to its resources, training, and tools available to conduct a more in-depth investigation.

A preliminary report from THP said the vehicle, driven by Rowan’s father, was traveling at a low rate of speed and preparing to unload passengers from the trailer when a child riding on the trailer fell off and was struck by the tires.

THP said he was transported to Vanderbilt Pediatrics where he succumbed to his injuries. The report stated there were no charges against the driver.

Members of the community organized a candlelight vigil Sunday evening at Mt. Juliet Middle School where hundreds of people gathered to remember Rowan and show support for his family and friends.

On Monday, the community also lined Mt. Juliet Road as a procession for Rowan made its way to Sellars Funeral Home. Police, fire, and city officials along with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office led the procession.

Two fundraisers have been set up for the family. A GoFundMe page, called “Remembering Rowan Ace,” has raised over $11,000. Another fundraiser on Facebook has raised more than $75,000.

Funeral arrangements for Rowan will not be made public.

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