BELLEVUE, Iowa – Two horses running out of control trampled children collecting candy and other onlookers along a Fourth of July parade route in a small Mississippi River town in eastern Iowa on Sunday.

Twenty-four people were injured, including at least two children who were in critical condition, police and hospital officials said.

The horses took off after one rubbed its head against the other, removing that horse’s bridle, police said. The horses, with a wagon in tow, galloped for several blocks, running over children and adults who sat and stood along the streets watching the parade in Bellevue. At one point, the wagon flipped, ejecting two people in it, police said.

Sandie Crilly, 46, of Willow Springs, Ill., said she was collecting Tootsie Rolls from the street with her 8-year-old son, 12-year-old niece and 2-year-old granddaughter when the horses ran toward them about halfway through the parade.

“I could see it was two horses,” Crilly said. “I could see they were running at full speed and they were harnessed together and I knew we were going to most certainly get hit, and as soon as it happened, everybody was crying and screaming.”

Five people were critically injured, five others severely injured and 14 suffered minor injuries, police and fire officials said. The victims were as young as 2 years old and suffered injuries ranging from multiple fractures to collapsed lungs and abrasions, officials said.