Santa Float mishap results in injury

Wayne Collmeyer

A mishap on the Waterloo Santa Float resulted in injury last Tuesday night.

The incident occurred shortly after 7 p.m. on Paula Drive.

People familiar with the incident said the person playing Santa on the float, former Waterloo school superintendent Wayne Collmeyer, fell and sustained a serious injury. He was transported to Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis County for treatment in the ICU, where he remains.

“He didn’t fall off of the float,” Waterloo Community Relations Coordinator Sarah Deutch said. “He lost his footing and fell, but remained on the float. He hit his head on the railing.”

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Santa Float had to quit early tonight,” the City of Waterloo posted last Tuesday night on its Facebook page.

The Santa Float still made its final run of the season last Wednesday night.

Wayne’s daughter, Andrea Kuergeleis, wrote on a CaringBridge site set up for her father that Wayne lost his balance and fell backward, suffering a neck fracture which caused a spinal injury.

“As most of you know, Dad is a fighter,” Kuergeleis wrote. “As soon as he is ready, rehab will start. He will take on therapy as he lives his life, with positivity and a big smile on his face. We are so lucky he is still with us, as things could have been much worse.  We will not dwell on the negative, but keep positive and fight through all of the challenges.”

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