Shriner Go-Karts: Unsafe At Any Size

4 people were injured when a large older man in a fez lost control of his tiny ’57 Chevy Bel-Air at a Fourth of July parade.

Okay, I’m making the assumption that the car was driven by a large older man in a fez, based on my vast experience with Shriners (my brother-in-law Frank is a member) and the headgear they wear at public events (I happen to know that lady Shriners have white fezzes, and have special travel cases for them when going to conventions).

Medinah Temple owns a golf resort in the area, but I don’t know if the membership consists mostly of older men – that’s the pattern I’m used to seeing from my days as a Job’s Daughter in Utah decades ago, where the local temple was called “El Kalah.”

Shriner loses control of go-kart, 4 paradegoers hurt —

Four spectators including two children were injured Friday after being struck by an out-of-control go-kart during a 4th of July parade in north suburban Niles.

Niles Police Sgt. Vince Genualdi said a 9-year-old girl watching the parade from the curb was struck by a go-kart decorated to look like a ’57 Chevy and driven by an unidentified Medinah Shriner.

The car then turned and struck three more spectators—a 64-year-old woman, 33-year-old man and 9-year-old girl—before landing in nearby shrubbery with the woman still on the hood of the vehicle, Genualdi said.

That’s too bad about the injuries, and I’m sure the gentleman driver feels just awful. Shriners are all about caring for kids and supporting the Shriners’ orthopedic hospitals and burn units, and I will bet you that everyone will get their medical care taken care of gratis. I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Salt Lake Shriners’ Hospital when I was a teenager, and had some unforgettable experiences working with some of the kids.

It sounds like the little car had a stuck accelerator, or maybe the steering went out and the driver had trouble with the controls.

On a recent trip to southern Illinois, we noticed a couple of vanloads of Shriners who stopped at the restaurant where we were eating breakfast – a typical highway interchange chain place called “Bob Evans.” How did we know they were Shriners? They weren’t wearing fezzes, but both vans had gaudy graphics on the side announcing the names of the temples, with the Shriner sword-and-crescent logo, from two different towns in nearby Southern states. So there must have been a Shriner convention going on somewhere, drawing grand poobahs from all over the region.

No little go-karts were in evidence, however.