Investigators are trying to find out if the driver of a vehicle that crashed into a parade in the state of Wisconsin was fleeing a crime.
The incident happened Sunday during a Christmas holiday parade in Waukesha, near the city of Milwaukee. Five people were reportedly killed in the crash. A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that more than 40 others were injured.
The parade included marching bands and children dancing.
A sports utility vehicle, or SUV, sped through barriers and struck the dancers, musicians and others. One video of the incident showed a woman screaming, “Oh my God!” repeatedly as a group of young dancers was struck. Members of a “Dancing Grannies” club were also among those killed and injured.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson identified the driver as Darrell Brooks, Jr. Thompson said there was no evidence the incident was linked to terrorism.
Brooks was detained after a Waukesha police officer opened fire to try to stop the vehicle.
Earlier on Sunday, Brooks had left the site of a crime before officers arrived. Police described the earlier crime as an argument involving a knife. They added that he was not being chased by police at the time of the crash. The police chief gave no additional details on the earlier crime.
On social media, the city of Waukesha said the number of dead was at least five.
The city’s live streaming video captured images of the deadly incident. So did people who recorded the event with their phones. One video shows the moment when the SUV broke through the barriers. The sound of apparent gunfire can be heard.
Another video shows a young child dancing in the street as the SUV speeds by before it crashes into parade attendees.
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies group wrote on its Facebook page that some of its members were among the dead. “Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness,” it wrote.
Chris Germain is co-owner of the Aspire Dance Center studio. His business had about 70 people in the parade. That included children as young as 2.
Germain’s 3-year-old daughter took part in the parade. He said he was driving at the head of his group’s parade section when he saw the SUV “just blaze right past us.” Blaze means to move very quickly.
Germain jumped out of his own SUV he was driving and gathered the girls who were with him to safety.
Then he walked ahead to see the damage. He said emergency workers were performing life-saving measures on many people.
“There were small children laying all over the road. There were police officers and EMTs doing CPR on multiple members of the parade,” he said.
The Waukesha School District canceled classes Monday and said extra mental health experts would be available for students and employees. The parade’s list of performers included cheer, dance and band groups from area schools.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called the deadly incident a “senseless act.”
The Christmas parade is held each year in Waukesha on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Scott Bauer, Michael Balsamo and Mike Householder reported this story for the Associated Press. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in This Story
granny (grandmother) --n. the mother of your mother or father
moment --n. a very short period of time
streaming –n. continuously played or captured as data sent to a computer over the internet
EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) –n. a person who is trained to provide emergency medical services to patients who are being taken to a hospital
CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) –n. a way of trying to save the life of someone who has stopped breathing and whose heart has stopped beating
multiple --adj. more than one
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.