Five people have died after the driver of an SUV plow at a holiday parade in Wisconsin

Waukesha, Weiss. – It was supposed to be a celebration night in Waukesha, with Weiss dance groups and high school bands and politicians marching along the main street of the Milwaukee suburban Christmas Parade, returning from an epidemic break.

Then, just before 4:40 pm, the driver of a red SUV crossed the barricade and drove through the crowd, hitting dozens of people. At least five people were killed and at least 40 were injured and the number could change, city authorities said in a statement late Sunday. Hospitals in the area reported treating dozens of patients, including many children. It was not clear what the episode might have inspired.

“Today our community faces horrors and tragedies that should have been a community celebration,” said Mayor Shawn Reilly, who saw smiling children and happy parents marching along the parade route before the incident. “I am deeply saddened to learn that many in our community went to a parade but were able to cope with the trauma and heartache.”

Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson said Sunday night that an interested person was in custody and there were no further threats. Although eyewitnesses described the driver as male, police did not confirm it. Chief Thompson said police fired at the driver.

A spokesman for Children’s Wisconsin said the hospital, which treats only pediatric patients, admitted 15 people Sunday. Details about their condition were not immediately available. Another hospital, Aurora Medical Center-Summit, said in a statement that it was treating 13 patients, three of whom were in critical condition. Officials at Freudert Hospital said they had also received patients but did not specify how many.

A bedroom about 20 miles west of Milwaukee has ruined the tragedy in what was described as a delightful night by participants and visitors to the community walkie-talkie. More than 60 entries from the Waukesha Fire Department to the Old Car Club to Santa were to march through the city.

It was the 58th Christmas Parade for Waukesha, an annual event that was canceled due to an epidemic last year. The theme of this year’s event was “Comfort and Joy.”

Jason Kelner, 49, said he saw his son, a drummer from the Waxing South High School marching band, pass by when he first saw a red Ford Escape approaching the crowd. After passing through a crossroads, Mr. Kelner said the car “started to get people down.”

“I have never felt bad; I wonder what I will find when I go to my child, “said Mr Kelner, who ran to his son, whom he saw standing unscathed on the side of the road.

Mr Kelner said he pulled a bloody saxophone off the road and saw several people injured on the ground.

“Right now, I’m just angry,” Mr. Kelner said. “Everywhere you look today, the tide of protectionist sentiment is flowing.

Tyler Kotlarek, 28, was watching the parade with family members when they heard what sounded like cheering at first, but then they realized “it was screaming,” he said. “It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

Mr Kotlarek said the driver had been seen intentionally driving towards people. That account has not been confirmed by the police.

“He was moving around, aiming at people,” Mr Kotlarek said. “A car bomb had exploded at an Iraqi police recruiting center at Kisak. He was deliberately moving from left to right.

Milwaukee Dancing Granis, who was among the parade’s entrants, said on Facebook that members and volunteers were impressed “and we look forward to hearing from you on their terms.” Officials from the Extreme Dance Team, another group that marched, demanded thoughts, prayers and “privacy to process the tragedy.” The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said the injured included a priest, as well as parishioners and students from a local Catholic school.

Tom Hickey, 25, was walking near a friend’s van behind the parade when he heard a horn behind him. A man wearing a sweatshirt and gray hat who was driving the Red Ford Escape was trying to get through the crowd, he said. Mr Hickey said he thought the driver was missing.

The driver then turned right onto the main parade route, fired at the engine, and drove through the parade route at maximum speed, he said.

“When he turned right, he became really dangerous,” said Mr Hickey.

Angelito Tenorio, the state treasurer candidate, had just finished marching in the parade, and on his way back to Main Street, he saw the SUV speeding along the route.

“Suddenly I heard a loud noise,” said Mr Tenorio, an alderman from nearby West Alice. “Then I heard deaf crying and screaming. It was very gut-wrenching. “

He describes a chaotic scene that shocked and shocked him.

“People were leaving their belongings and running away, crying,” he said. “When the crowd cleared, it looked like there were people on the ground who could be hit by a car.”

In a video posted on the city’s Facebook page, the SUV can be seen speeding along the parade route and screams can be heard from within the crowd. Then, a few seconds later, a police officer ran to the side, followed by several police cars when a group of kids stopped performing.

Don Paul Brown, a City Alderman, was marching in procession with the mayor but had already left and had not witnessed what happened. He said the city is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

He described the parade as a family-friendly event that attracts visitors from other counties. He struggled to understand what had happened, he said, because there was no political undertone or debate with the parade.

A few hours later, family and band members left and residents were told to avoid the suburbs. But along the parade route, three lawn chairs resting opposite the entrance to the Steaming Cup Coffeehouse were illuminated by red and blue police lights.

The two chairs – one pink, the other blue – were child-sized.

Andres Martinez, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Bimal Patel, Justin Jones and Elizabeth Dias contributed to the report.

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