GULF SHORES, Ala. (WSVN) – Police are investigating after, officials said, an SUV drove into a school marching band just before the start of a Mardi Gras parade in Alabama, Tuesday morning.

Officials said the vehicle, driven by a 73-year-old man, sped at the students from behind, striking 12 of them.

Witnesses watched in horror as the elderly man drove the white SUV into the marching band. “I see a vehicle just going into the crowd, and I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said a man who was attending the parade as he fought back tears. “Then I saw it in the air, and the wheels were still spinning, and I just stopped and ran.”

News cameras captured first responders loading students onto stretchers as musical instruments strewn all over the road. “It was not a scene that you want to see, by any means,” said a witness. “We had several children on stretchers, several children being loaded into an ambulance, parents looking for their kids, trying to make sure their kids were OK.”

A city official said three of the injured victims, who are middle and high school students, are listed in critical but stable condition.

Government officials canceled the parade and shut down roads in the area.

Witnesses said the 2008 Ford Expedition was part of the parade and was staged behind the band. Police said they have obtained a search warrant for the vehicle.

Gulf Shores Police Chief Ed Delmore said it doesn’t appear the driver meant to strike the band members. “Every indication … is it was not involving drugs or alcohol, nor is there any indication that this was an intentional act,” he said.

Tuesday’s crash took place three days after 28 people were injured when a truck plowed into a crowd at a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade. Police said that driver was drunk.

Police continue to investigate the cause of the Gulf Shores accident.

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