Driver plows SUV at holiday parade in Wisconsin
According to an eyewitness, police and emergency responders were descending on the downtown Wisconsin city of Wisconsin after the driver of an SUV boarded a holiday parade on Sunday, injuring people.
The witness, Kaylee Starle, a resident of Waukesha, west of Milwaukee, was at the parade with her mother and stepfather. She said they were standing at the crossroads outside a shop when a red SUV was coming on the road in the middle of the parade.
Ms Starle, 20, who is an intern with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, said it was a moment of fear or flight as some bystanders immediately fled the scene and others took to the street to help the injured. She said that many families with children sought refuge in the shops.
His mother had gone to help the injured, she said, but police officers soon came and told those who survived that shots were fired and instructed people to seek security inside the shops.
Ms Starle said she had not heard gunshots but that people were injured. There was no immediate information on the number and severity of the injured. It was also not clear what happened to the driver of the SUV.
“I think a lot of people are in shock right now,” Ms Starle said. “it was scary.”
Tom Hickey, 25, was walking past a friend’s boat at the parade when he heard the horn sounding behind him.
A man in a sweatshirt and gray hat driving a red Ford Escape tried to make his way through the crowd. Mr Hickey said he thought the driver was lost.
Then, the driver took a right turn on the main parade route, shut down the engine and accelerated through the parade route, he said.
“When he made that right turn, he got really dangerous,” said Mr. Hickey. Amidst the cries of the people and the roar of the car’s engine, Mr Hickey also heard what he said about five gunshots.
In a video posted on the city’s Facebook page, the SUV can be seen speeding along the parade route and some screams can be heard from the crowd.
Then, seconds later, a police officer walks down the parade route, followed by a group of children in the parade as several police vehicles stop performing.
In a Facebook post, the Waukesha Police Department asked residents to avoid the downtown area. Police also set up a family reunion location at the Waukesha Metro Center.
The parade route ran mostly along Main Street, and was scheduled to end at Wisconsin Avenue near Cutler Park.
Don Paul Brown, a city alderman, was marching in the parade with the mayor, but had already left and had not seen what had happened. He said the city was celebrating its 125th anniversary and residents were in particularly good spirits as the parade was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
He described the parade as a family-friendly event that attracts spectators from other counties. He struggled to understand what happened, he said, as there were no political undertones or controversies associated with the parade.
This is a developing story.
Dan Simmons and Vimal Patel contributed reporting.
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