MANATEE -- It was smooth sailing Saturday as tens of thousands of spectators poured into downtown Bradenton and Palmetto for the first-ever Bradenton Area Riverwalk Regatta.
Despite the Green Bridge over the Manatee River being closed to provide onlookers a bird's-eye view of the Formula 2 tunnel hull boats from the Powerboat Superleague series, traffic flowed smoothly all day across the DeSoto Bridge. At about 6:30 p.m., police reported that the Green
Bridge was clear of pedestrian foot traffic.
"We had a really large crowd, but a good crowd," Bradenton Police Lt. Brian Thiers said at about 5:30 p.m, as the crowds were dispersing.
Bradenton only had one reported traffic accident, he added, and a couple of children who became separated from their families were found within minutes and returned.
The three-vehicle crash occurred at about 12:30 p.m. in the northbound lanes of U.S. 301 approaching the DeSoto Bridge.
A white pick-up truck had stopped suddenly for an unknown reason, according to Bradenton Police Sgt. Sean O'Leary. The second car behind it stopped, but then the third one reportedly was unable to and struck the second car.
Paramedics arrived and took the driver and passenger from the third car to Manatee Memorial to be treated for injuries, O'Leary said.
Within 30 minutes the ambulance had cleared, and police moved the vehicles into a turning lane, clearing the way for traffic.
Palmetto Police reported no incidents, according to Deputy Chief Scott Tyler.
"It was great," Tyler said. "The crowd was very friendly and they had a great time."
There were no reports of traffic accidents, injuries to onlookers, lost children or other incidents, he added.
Bradenton Fire Assistant Chief David Ezell said his department was prepared.
"When you've got everybody working together, it's amazing how smoothly everything runs," Ezell said.
The fireworks display began as scheduled at 6:40 p.m., and the crowd oohed and awed until show's end at about 6:55 p.m.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.