Waukesha parade tragedy: Witnesses recall incident, say 'bodies were flying everywhere'
WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN: Several witnesses have come forward and described the horror that unfolded on Sunday night, November 21, when a driver plowed into several marchers at a Wisconsin Christmas parade, killing five people and injuring over 40. According to Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson, the “suspect vehicle” was recovered after what is being called a mass casualty event. Investigators now have a “person of interest".
The person in custody has been identified as Darrell Edward Brooks Jr, who was found by the cops with the key to a Ford vehicle. The 39-year-old happens to be a career criminal and rapper who performs under the stage name MathBoi Fly. A red SUV, similar to the one that plowed onto the parade at Waukesha can be seen in one of his music videos.
Videos of the horrific incident, which are viral on social media, show a red Ford Escape smashing through white barricades before racing down the road towards a high school marching band. The car drove right through the parade as screams filled the air, running over people and driving away as the crowd scattered. “As we were walking back in between the buildings that we saw an SUV crossover just put the pedal to the metal and just zooming full speed along the parade route,” alderman Angelito Tenorio, who had just finished marching, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “And then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are who are struck by the vehicle. And then, and then we saw people running away or stopping crying, and there, there are people on the ground who looked like they'd been hit by the vehicle.”
Graphic video shows a speeding vehicle ram through participants of the Christmas parade in #Waukesha, Wisc. Few details confirmed at this point though the police said they have a person of interest they’re looking into. pic.twitter.com/zKEX1VoC2T— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) November 22, 2021
What are witnesses saying?
Melinda Schultz, 33, of Waukesha was watching the parade with her family and friends when they saw a car racing towards the crowd. “We just saw a red vehicle speeding down the road while the parade was going on,” Schultz told New York Post. “We thought maybe it was an unmarked cop or something. All of a sudden we realized that wasn’t the case. People started screaming ‘move, move, move’ to get people out of the way."
A kindergarten teacher, 36, who chose to remain anonymous, was watching the parade from the window of her apartment building with her mother when she saw the tragedy unfold. “I ran downstairs and it was just kids on the ground and everyone freaking out,” the woman said. “Everyone was screaming and crying…it happened so quickly.”
A member of the Waukesha school district board said that his daughter’s dance team was hit by the car. “They were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter,” Corey Montiho told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “My wife and two daughters were almost hit. Please pray for everybody. Please pray.”
Bradyden Kowalski, 19, a Waukesha native, said he watched helplessly as bodies flew into the air. “He’s just blowing through people, kind of just dinging a lot of people, bodies flying everywhere,” Kowalski told Fox News. “These people didn’t get run over, they got thrown through the air. Like a lot of people got tossed up into the air.” Kowalski said that after the incident, his mother rushed to help those who were injured. “You could see the fragments of brains,” he said. “There were quite a few people with broken limbs, like a lot of broken legs, a lot of people shouting with broken legs. It was horrifying.” “This is the most peaceful loving town. Everyone is so friendly. I know people say ‘You would never expect this to happen here,’ but this is one of those towns. You would have never thought this would happen," he added.
Jordan Woynilko, of Wilwaukee, was stepping out of a pub when he heard people crying and yelling at the spot. He shared a video on Twitter, which shows bodies strewn out in the road as others rushed to help them. “It was horrific as we were walking, and then when we turned off the main street there to walk up a few more blocks to the car, there were cops peeling around the corner, we’re assuming looking for the guy," he said. “There were moms and dads yelling for their kids, people running around. When I rewatched the video, I could hear people talking, and they were like, ‘There’s eight people injured down there. We need an Ambulance over here.’ There’s one lady kneeling on the ground crying.”
"This is an unspeakable tragedy, affecting us all as we work to overcome an extremely challenging two years and resume our cherished holiday traditions," Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow said in a statement. "I had just finished participating in the parade with my wife when I noticed police sirens. Shortly afterward, I learned that a vehicle drove through the parade route injuring many people. Please pray for our community tonight after the horrific events at the Waukesha Christmas Parade." Farrow said that the case is under investigation.