Sunday night, families gathered to watch a Christmas parade complete with a marching band and children dancing in Santa hats. A joyous celebration quickly turned to tragedy when an SUV plowed through parade barricades at a high speed, killing 5 people and injuring at least 40.
The city of Waukesha, Wisconsin has confirmed the incident via social media, while noting that it was still collecting information. The city’s statement also noted that many people took themselves to hospitals. The city did not release any additional information about those who died.
One video showed a woman screaming, “Oh my God!” repeatedly as a group of young dancers was struck. A father talked of going “from one crumpled body to the other” in search of his daughter. One video, of dancers with pompoms, ends with a group of people tending to a girl on the ground.
“There were pompoms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter,” Corey Montiho, a Waukesha school district board member, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “My wife and two daughters were almost hit. Please pray for everybody. Please pray.”
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on its Facebook page that “members of the group and volunteers were impacted and we are waiting for word on their conditions.” The group’s profile describes them as a “group of grannies that meet once a week to practice routines for summer and winter parades.”
A “person of interest” was in custody, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said, but he gave no details about the person or any possible motive. The investigation was ongoing, with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
“What took place in Waukesha today is sickening, and I have every confidence that those responsible will be brought to justice,” Attorney General Josh Kaul, the state’s top law enforcement officer, tweeted.