The National - News

FIVE DEAD AS CAR HITS CROWD AT WISCONSIN CHRISTMAS PARADE

▶ More than 40 were injured, including members of two dance troupes, and an arrest was made

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At least five people died and more than 40 were injured after a car ploughed into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin yesterday, police said.

Those killed included members of a “dancing grannies” troupe, and younger dancers were among more than a dozen children injured, reports in the US state said.

Videos showed small groups surroundin­g the girls, with white pompoms scattered on the ground.

“At this time, we can confirm that five people are deceased and over 40 injured,” the City of Waukesha said.

“These numbers may change as we collect additional informatio­n.”

A man taken into custody was identified as Darrell Brooks, 39.

Waukesha police chief Dan Thompson said 11 adults and 12 children had been taken to hospital. He declined to provide further details.

“We’re working with the families. That is our priority in this very tragic incident,” he said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said US President Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident.

“Our hearts are with the families and the entire community,” she said in a Twitter post.

Mr Thompson said a “person of interest” was in custody and a sports utility vehicle had been recovered after the incident in the town, about 32 kilometres west of Milwaukee.

Investigat­ors are looking into whether the suspect was fleeing from the scene of a crime when he ploughed through the Christmas parade, a law enforcemen­t official said.

A video posted online showed a red car driving through the parade at speed.

It appeared to run over more than a dozen people before crowds ran from pavements to offer assistance.

Mr Thompson said an officer fired shots at the vehicle and no bystanders were injured.

Police did not believe shots had been fired from the vehicle, he said, contrary to earlier reports.

Video on social media appeared to show police officers firing on the SUV as it crashed through street barriers.

Belen Santamaria, 39, her husband and their three-yearold daughter were planning to join the parade with their Catholic church.

But Ms Santamaria, a factory worker from Mexico, woke up with a backache, so the family watched the procession from the pavement instead.

“The SUV came by at full speed,” she said. “Then I started to hear people screaming.”

Ms Santamaria hid in a restaurant with their daughter while her husband, delivery worker Jesus Ochoa, also 39, ran ahead to try to help injured people.

He said he heard through other members of their church that about 10 members of the congregati­on, both adults and children, were injured.

“I was going to be there, walking,” Ms Santamaria said. “The SUV would have hit us too.”

A woman spoke to Milwaukee’s Fox6 television station about the moment the car hit the dancers.

She said the immediate reaction was silence, followed by screaming, running and checking on those injured.

One witness said the driver also hit a dance troupe of older women, and that at least one person was flipped over the bonnet of the vehicle.

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies said some of its members were among the dead.

It did not say how many of the women had died.

“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 said.

“Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies.”

 ?? Reuters ?? A car speeds past a child moments before ploughing into a crowd during a parade in Waukesha, US, yesterday
Reuters A car speeds past a child moments before ploughing into a crowd during a parade in Waukesha, US, yesterday

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