Suspected driver in deadly Wisconsin parade crash identified, arrested: authorities

Law enforcement sources say Brooks was fleeing a domestic stabbing incident when he crashed through barricades and struck dozens of assembled Waukesha revelers

An annual Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin turned deadly Sunday when at least five people were killed, and more than 40 were injured by an SUV that sped through barricades during the event. 

As previously reported by Associated Press and reposted by theGrio, investigators were examining whether the SUV’s driver may have been fleeing from a crime when he reportedly crashed into the parade-goers. 

Investigators are examining whether Darrell Brooks, 38, may have been fleeing from a crime when he crashed his SUV into Sunday’s parade-goers in Wisconsin. (Photo: Milwaukee Police Dept./AP)

Darrell Brooks, 39, was taken into custody shortly after the deadly incident, according to NBC News. 

Brooks was later booked on suspicion of five counts of intentional homicide on Monday, the outlet reported. According to the BBC, the five fatality victims have been identified as Jane Coolidge, 52; Tamara Durand, 52; Wilhelm Hospel, 81; Leanna Owens, 71, and Virginia Sorenson, 79.

Law enforcement sources say Brooks was fleeing a domestic stabbing incident when he crashed through barricades and struck dozens of assembled Waukesha revelers enjoying the 58th yearly holiday parade, according to NBC. 

Later Sunday, Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson called the scene a “very chaotic and tragic event.”

Daniel Thompson, the police chief in Waukesha, Wisconsin, addresses the media after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers in the city Sunday. (Photo: John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

According to The New York Post, Brooks may have posted the red SUV on his YouTube channel. It was later found later, crumpled, in his driveway. 

Brooks was booked and released on a $1,000 bond earlier this month on charges of resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering safety, disorderly conduct, bail jumping, and battery, per the Post report. He reportedly goes by the stage name Mathboi Fly and has shared online music videos where, according to reports, he is rapping in front of an SUV similar to the one in the deadly crash. 

Reports note that the SUV’s driver collided with a dance troupe called the Dancing Grannies. 

The group shared a message on their Facebook page, writing, “The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are devastated by this terrible [tragedy] with of loss of life and injuries in the Waukesha Christmas parade.”

“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. While performing the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds cheers and applause which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts.” 

President Joe Biden offered prayers for the community in remarks Monday from the White House.

“Last night, the people of Waukesha were gathered to celebrate the start of a season of hope and togetherness and Thanksgiving,” he said. “This morning, Jill and I and the entire Biden family and I’m sure all of us pray that that same spirit is going to embrace and lift up all the victims of this tragedy, bringing comfort to those recovering from their injuries and wrapping the families of those who died in support of their community.”

“We’re all grateful to the extraordinary work of first responders,” Biden added, “from law enforcement to the emergency room doctors, who are working around the clock to deal with the terrible consequence of what happened last night. My administration is monitoring the situation very closely,”

Have you subscribed to theGrio podcasts “Dear Culture” or “Acting Up?” Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!