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Child's death after falling off Mandan parade float deemed accidental

No charges will be filed in the death of 6-year-old Mabel Askay.

MabelAskay.jpg
Mabel Askay
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MANDAN, N.D. — There will be no criminal charges in the death of a 6-year-old girl after she fell off a Fourth of July parade float in Mandan.

Mandan Police Sgt. April Bowman marked the case as closed and not a crime after she submitted a report of the investigation to the Morton County Assistant State's Attorney, who declined to recommend charges.

Mabel Askay was atop a double-axle flatbed trailer decorated as a float for DK Orthodontics at about 9 a.m. when she fell off. The float was en route to the parade staging area.

According to the witnesses who saw her fall, Askay may have reached out to pop a bubble before she fell off the trailer and was run over by it.

Mandan Police Lt. Pat Haug told the Bismarck Tribune no charges are warranted because the death was "just a pure accident."

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According to the police report, Askay, from Ventura, California, was in town visiting relatives including her aunt, who worked for the orthodontic practice.

The report said Askay was sitting on a folding chair that was not secured at the front of the trailer. The pickup towing the float was at a complete stop because traffic ahead was also stopped. The man driving the truck said as traffic moved, he started to slowly drive forward. A semi driver behind the float said the truck moved at around 5 mph.

According to the report, there was much confusion after Askay fell, with some people yelling at the driver to move forward and others yelling to move backward after he stopped. Two 911 recordings were included in the police report, and both calls noted screaming in the background of the calls.

One witness who was on the float with Askay told police the girl had her arm outstretched immediately before the accident. Another witness said another child on the float had been playing with bubbles, and he thought Mabel might have been trying to pop one.

Askay was taken to a Bismarck hospital where she was pronounced dead. In an autopsy report, the cause of death is listed as "blunt force injury of head" and deemed accidental.

The funeral for Mabel Askay was held July 11 in Bismarck. A GoFundMe account set up for the Askay family had a goal of $10,000 and has raised more than $93,120.

Following her death, the Askay family sent a statement to the Bismarck Tribune that said she "lit up every room she ever entered, and our world is now dimmer without her. We know she is with Jesus, but we are having a very difficult time saying goodbye. Please keep our family, including Mabel's older siblings, Fletcher and Matilda, in your prayers as we gather our strength to start the process of moving forward."

Askay's obituary described her as a "red-haired tornado" who loved life, animals, cuddling and her older siblings.

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"She was always up for adventures with her family, whether it be fishing, ATV riding, hiking, exploring tidepools, or simply having an impromptu dance party in the living room. On many of these adventures, Mabel was known to shed multiple layers of clothing, as she was a firm believer in the "suns out, buns out" approach to life," the obituary said.

"Mabel lit up every single room she ever entered to the point that all others required sunglasses," it continued. "She dressed brightly to match her one-of-a-kind personality, and her red hair could never quite seem to contain the joy it radiated."

The recent kindergarten graduate was known for her kindness, intelligence and strong sense of humor.

"Mabel was a funny, funny kid. Because she was so smart, she found a lot of humor in life and it was an absolute joy to share in her humor. Her number one mission in her days was to find and love animals, and to make her family laugh," her obituary said.

The family publicly thanked the Bismarck-Mandan community “for your love, support, financial contributions, encouraging words, prayers and hugs over the past two weeks as we said goodbye to our Mabel Rae. You held us up while our world crumbled.”

READ MORE FROM WEST FARGO EDITOR WENDY REUER
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Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at wreuer@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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