On November 21, members of the Waukesha, Wisconsin community gathered for their 56th annual Christmas parade. What was expected to be a joyful and special Sunday evening turned tragic and deadly when a driver of an SUV sped into the parade and the surrounding crowd.
According to Today, a bystander who witnessed the horrific event was at the parade with his family. As Thomas Kluka Jr. recounted the event to Today, he admits that he and his family were close enough to touch the vehicle as it sped past him.
Thankfully, Kluka said, he was able to throw his daughter out of the way as she was standing up to ensure she wouldn’t get hit. “I noticed him coming through the crowd and I noticed something was not right, and then I saw kind of like just people flying as I stood up.”
“I’m like ‘Oh no.’ My daughter stood up, I threw her out of the way, then I basically yelled, ‘Get out of the way,’ and my wife got out of the way, and by the time she did, the car came right past me within at least two feet. I could’ve touched the car going by.”
According to several reports, as of November 22, five people were killed in the tragic event and more than 40 reported injuries. As Children’s Wisconsin Hospital reported, they received 18 patients ranging in ages 3 to 16 years old as a result of this incident. At least six children remain in critical condition, USA Today reports.
Kluka said he and his daughter have been attending the parade since she was born. “I wanted to get her out of the way,” he said. “That was my main concern was just to get her out of the way, just to make sure she was OK, her and her friend. If I had to get hit, I had to get hit, I was just making sure they got out of the way.”
According to NBC, police have questioned a person of interest. If he was the driver of the red SUV, then he “may have a significant criminal history.”
It was further reported that the person of interest may have been fleeing a knife fight when the driver drove through the parade. So far the investigation has yielded that there is no connection to terrorism, NBC News reports.
Man Believed to Be Responsible for Deadly Wisconsin Parade Incident Was Just Released From Jail on Friday
USA Today has named the person of interest as 39-year-old Darrell Brooks Jr. As USA Today continued, Brooks is a “Milwaukee man with an open court case related to domestic violence.”
Further, Brooks has also been charged “three times in less than two years with recklessly endangering the safety of others, the third time occurring on November 5 as part of a domestic abuse incident for which he was also charged with resisting or obstructing an officer.”
Brooks was only just released from jail on Friday after posting his $1,000 bail. He was accused of “purposefully running over a woman with his vehicle as she walked through a gas station parking lot,” USA Today reported. The “inappropriately low” cash bail amount is now under investigation.
Brooks had allegedly followed the woman to the parking lot of getting in a fight with her. A motive for the deadly incident has not yet been revealed.
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