In November 1993, a giant Sonic The Hedgehog balloon hit a light post, popped open, and broke a police officer's shoulder. The incident was caught on tape, but the video just kind of disappeared to the world until it was released on YouTube two days ahead of this year's Thanksgiving Day parade.
The release came as there was a bit of a scare this year involving whether the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade would be able to fly any balloons because of the high winds. The balloons flew anyway, but the story influenced ABC 7 in New York to dig up old footage of some previous wind-related incidents during the parade, which included the Sonic the Hedgehog incident.
The footage is a bit short, but shows the lamp post hit the giant Sonic baloon directly in the eye, pushing inwards until it punctures it. The cameraman, apparently not expecting one of gaming's biggest cultural icons to burst open right in front of him, steps back in fear, but managed to get some footage of the balloon slowly deflating.
The injury of the police officer was not caught on tape, but it wasn't the last time that Sonic had issues with the police.
One could almost say that the incident was a bit metaphorical in nature - Sonic had just risen to prominence after his first game was released in 1991, and his unironically radical attitude was a perfect fit for the 90s. The 1992 sequel was just as well-received, and they had just released Sonic CD for the brand-new Sega CD add-on to critical acclaim.
But the Sega CD was doomed to failure, and not long after the Thanksgiving Day parade, Sega Japan announced that they wouldn't be accepting any new projects for the short-lived add-on. And while Sega did see success in Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, the sales never reached the level of Sonic 2. Sega's consoles also never reached the level of success seen by the Sega Genesis/Megadrive.
Sonic is still around, and with a movie on the way, he's certainly still in the public consciousness. But you can't deny that he looks a little... deflated.