Witnesses have recounted scenes of horror after a car plowed into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon, leaving at five dead and 40 others – including at least 12 children – injured.
Corey Montiho recalled running between crumpled bodies in the streets of Waukesha, 20 miles from Milwaukee, in an attempt to find his wife and two daughters after the girls’ dance team was hit by a speeding red SUV around 4.40pm, leaving the streets littered with bodies, broken bones, and ‘fragments of brain’.
‘They were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter,’ he said. ‘My wife and two daughters were almost hit.
‘I saw bodies flying. I ran down the parade route to find my girls. Addison, my daughter, heard someone yell “car” and ran away. The girls right next to her were hit.
‘I was there. It was little kids and families… evil is real, fight it every chance you get.’
Police say a ‘person of interest’ is now in custody, but no arrests have been made. Officers have also not disclosed a motive but say they are not discounting terrorism. They are also believed to be looking into the possibility that the suspect was fleeing an earlier knife incident when he happened upon the parade.
Dozens of pieces of footage, intended to capture the annual parade, instead ended up documenting the horror – with one showing how a little girl dancing close to the road was narrowly missed by the SUV.
Footage recorded the terrifying moment a young girl dancing in the street was nearly hit by a red SUV during a parade
The young girl dressed in all pink is seen enjoying the holiday parade on Sunday as the red SUV barrels down the road
The red SUV narrowly misses the child as it continues down the parade route fatally hitting several people and injuring others
The image above shows a red SUV driving at high speed through a holiday parade in downtown Waukesha, some 20 miles west of Milwaukee, on Sunday evening
Witnesses said that the paradegoers initially thought that the red SUV was part of the procession. It was only after the vehicle was running over people did they realize that something was wrong
Brayden Kowalski, a 19-year-old from Waukesha, described the horrifying scene as he watched the parade with his family
Witnesses said there were a large number of casualties near the intersection of Main and Barstow streets in downtown Waukesha on Sunday
The incident comes just two days after Kyle Rittenhouse, the accused Kenosha shooter, was acquitted of murder charges in the deaths of two men during the unrest that erupted last year in the wake of a police shooting of a black man. Kenosha is located about 55 miles south of Waukesha.
The Rittenhouse acquittal, which stoked division along political and racial lines, prompted local and national authorities to place security forces on high alert.
Brayden Kowalski, a 19-year-old Waukesha native, said that he was at the parade with his family when he saw ‘bodies flying everywhere.’
‘He’s just blowing through people, kind of just dinging a lot of people, bodies flying everywhere,’ Kowalski told Fox News. ‘These people didn’t get run over, they got f**king thrown through the air. Like a lot of people got tossed up into the air.’
‘You could see the fragments of brains,’ he said. ‘There were quite a few people with broken limbs, like a lot of broken legs, a lot of people shouting with broken legs. It was horrifying.’
The head of the fire department said that 11 adults, including a priest, and 12 children were rushed to six different hospitals in the area. They include several elderly women who were part of a ‘Dancing Grannies’ float and members of a schoolgirls’ dance team, according to reports.
Children’s Wisconsin, a pediatric hospital in Milwaukee, said it was treating 15 patients. Aurora Medical Center-Summit, a hospital in Waukesha County, told CNN that it is treating 13 patients.
Three are listed in critical condition, four in serious condition and six in fair condition.
‘We are deeply saddened by today’s senseless tragedy and our hearts are with the Waukesha community,’ a statement from the hospital said.
Authorities will release information about fatalities after notifying next of kin.
Melinda, a 36-year-old kindergarten teacher, told the New York Post she was watching the parade from her apartment on West Main Street when she saw the red SUV speed through the crowd.
‘I ran downstairs and it was just kids on the ground and everyone freaking out,’ Melinda, recounted. ‘Everyone was screaming and crying…it happened so quickly.
‘It was just chaos. You don’t expect something like that to happen here. It’s Waukesha. It’s really safe. You don’t see that here.’
The incident comes just two days after Kyle Rittenhouse, the accused Kenosha shooter, was acquitted of murder charges in the deaths of two men during the unrest that erupted last year in the wake of a police shooting of a black man. Kenosha is located about 55 miles south of Waukesha
Paradegoers are seen gathered in the aftermath of a local Christmas parade that turned deadly when a red SUV sped through the parade route in Waukesha, Wisconsin
Authorities rushed to the scene Sunday as terrified witnesses described a horrific scene with ‘crumpled ‘ bodies and broken limbs as many were hit by the speeding vehicle
Residents helped one another as several people were injured and multiple killed after the vehicle plowed through the crowd
Corey Montiho, a Waukesha school district board member, went ‘from one crumpled body to the other’ as he searched for his daughter who was nearly hit by the SUV
Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, heard ‘deafening cries and screams from people’ who were hit by the speeding vehicle
From her window she saw ‘a little girl get hit and go flying’ in the town’s Five Points area.
One entry in the parade, 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 post asked people to keep the Grannies and anyone else injured in their prayers.
The group’s profile describes them as a ‘group of grannies that meet once a week to practice routines for summer and winter parades.’
Chris Germain, co-owner of the Aspire Dance Center studio, had about 70 girls in the parade ranging from as young as two being pulled in wagons to age 18.
Germain, whose own three-year-old daughter was in the parade, said he was driving at the head of their entry when he saw a maroon SUV that ‘just blazed right past us.’
A police officer came by on foot chasing after, he said. Germain said he jumped out of his own SUV and gathered the girls who were with him.
‘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.
Melinda Schultz, 33, of Waukesha had been watching the parade near the start of the parade’s route when a car came racing toward the route: ‘We just saw a red vehicle speeding down the road while the parade was going on,’ she told the NYPost.
‘We thought maybe it was an unmarked cop or something. All of a sudden we realized that wasn’t the case,’ she added. ‘People started screaming ‘move, move, move’ to get people out of the way.’
Corey Montiho, a Waukesha school district board member, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his daughter’s dance team was hit by the SUV.
‘They were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter,’ he said.
‘My wife and two daughters were almost hit. Please pray for everybody. Please pray.’
Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was watching the parade with his family when they saw the SUV come speeding into the area.
‘Then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle,’ Tenorio said.
‘And then, and then we saw people running away or stopping crying, and there, there are people on the ground who looked like they’d been hit by the vehicle.’
Tenorio said he saw about 10 people, children and adults, on the ground who appeared to have been hit by the vehicle.
‘It just happened so fast,’ he said. ‘It was pretty horrifying.’
Emergency responders and passersby attend to injured people after a red SUV drove through the crowd on Sunday
The main street is taped off in Waukesha as authorities continue to investigate the scene of the disturbing crime
Police inspected the Wisconsin parade route after the local Christmas parade turned deadly on Sunday afternoon
Kaylee Staral, an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper, heard ‘a lot of screams’ and saw ‘multiple people on the ground’ after the SUV ran through the crowd
‘There were lots of families, lots of small children there. A red SUV came running down the street, hitting a lot of people in the parade,’ Kaylee Staral, an eyewitness who was at the parade with her mother and stepfather, told CNN.
Staral told The New York Times that she and her family were standing at the curb outside a store when the red SUV sped through in the middle of the parade.
Staral, an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper, said the SUV plowed into the paradegoers between 20 and 30 minutes after the festivities began.
‘There were a lot of screams,’ Staral said. ‘We thought maybe it was Santa, but it was a red SUV and it hit a lot of people.’
Moments later, Staral said that there were ‘multiple people on the ground.’ She later clarified that there were some 20 people on the ground.
Staral also said police reported that gunshots were fired, but ‘I cannot confirm that for you.’
She said that it wasn’t clear if the driver was heard saying anything since he was ‘going very fast’ and that there was ‘a lot of screaming.’
Staral said that while it is unclear if the driver was intentionally trying to mow down people, the car ‘was going very fast and it was in the middle of the parade.’
‘It’s not like they somehow missed that there was a parade happening,’ she said.
Staral said that the annual holiday parade was held for the first time in two years after last year’s parade was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Video captured the terrifying moment a young girl was nearly hit by an SUV that barreled past her before running down a holiday parade killing several people in Wisconsin on Sunday.
A young girl dressed in all pink is seen dancing along to the music on the side of the street as the parade marches on behind her in a suburban of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A red SUV is then seen speeding down the road alongside the parade route missing the young girl by inches as the crowd screams and the parade slows to a halt.
The camera turns to record down the street following the direction of the red SUV which is already out of sight. A few people are seen running towards the scene.
The car continued down the parade route killing at least five people and leaving at least 40 people injured, among them several elderly women who were part of a ‘Dancing Grannies’ float and members of a schoolgirls’ dance team, according to reports.
Other footage from the deadly scene showed red SUV collide into a group of people marching in the middle of the street during the annual holiday parade in Waukesha, some 20 miles west of downtown Milwaukee.
The official social media account of the City of Waukesha indicates that the parade started at 4pm local time.
The parade route began at the intersection of Main Street and Pleasant Street. It starts westward down Main Street and ends at Wisconsin Avenue.
The parade was livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.
At around 7:15pm local time, the Waukesha Police Department sent a push alert to cell phones of residents in the area asking them to shelter in place ‘within a half-mile radius of the 5 points downtown.’
Terrifying video posted to social media shows a speeding red SUV collide into a group of people marching in the middle of the street during the annual holiday parade in Waukesha, some 20 miles west of downtown Milwaukee
The images above show victims lying on the ground after the red Ford SUV plowed through a holiday parade in Waukesha on Sunday
Locals tend to an injured paradegoer in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday night after the horrific incident
Several people who attended the parade are seen in the aftermath of the incident in Waukesha on Sunday
Law enforcement officials are urging locals to avoid the downtown Waukesha area as the investigation is ongoing. Police have also set up a family reunification location at Metro Transit Center near Bank Street.
Another witness tweeted: ‘Right in front of my family, this man drives through the parade hitting as many people as possible while shooting out the window.
‘He ran over several elderly women who were dancing in the parade and many others please pray for everyone in Waukesha.’
The witness added: ‘Waukesha has some of the nicest families and people in this country.
‘This parade is one of the most heartwarming events of the year, this is not the America my little cousins, parents, aunts, uncles, ANYBODY deserves.
‘WHAT THE F***.’
Angela O’Boyle lives on the fifth floor of an apartment building that overlooks the parade route.
She told CNN that she was on her balcony watching the procession.
‘The next thing I heard were screams and turned my head and saw the car come and plow into the band that was just pass my balcony at that point,’ she said.
She added: ‘It hit at least two people right away and rolled over them.
‘And then continued down the road to People’s Park, which is at the end of the block – and then kept going, it didn’t stop.’
According to Boyle, people screamed and parents yelled out their children’s names.
‘It was not something that I wanted to see.’
A television news reporter for Fox6 TV tweeted photos from the scene.
The reporter, Sam Kraemer, tweeted: ‘The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office incident command post is on site.
‘There are bag chairs and handfuls of candy stranded all along Main Street. Another man told us he heard a handful of shots and ran for cover.
‘He was almost hit by the SUV as it pulled through.’
The Waukesha School District has cancelled classes for Monday.
‘The District will have additional counselors available at all buildings for all students and staff in need of support services,’ the school district website announced.