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71 new charges added to case against Waukesha parade crash suspect

Nov 23, 2021


Update (Jan. 13, 2022): Nearly two months after the deadly crash at a parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, prosecutors have added 71 charges to their case against the suspect, Darrell Brooks Jr. The charges, part of a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, include multiple counts of reckless endangerment, hit-and-run involving death, battery and bail jumping.

“All of the victims who were killed and most of the people that were injured were walking right down the middle of the road in plain view,” the complaint said, It added the street Brooks Jr. allegedly drove down “was clearly closed to traffic, there were barricades in place and police present to direct motorists for the entire length of the parade route.”

Brooks Jr. is expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing Friday.

Update (Nov. 24, 2021): A sixth person has died in the wake of the deadly crash at a parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Eight-year-old Jackson Sparks “succumbed to his injuries” suffered in the crash, according to the organizer of a GoFundMe page for Sparks’ family. According to that page, Sparks and his 12-year-old brother Tucker were both seriously injured in the crash. Tucker is still recovering.

In addition to the sixth death, a criminal complaint bumped up the injury total from the initial 48 to 62. The complaint alleged that Darrell Brooks Jr. steered side-to-side with the intent of hitting marchers and spectators as he plowed through the parade. On Tuesday, Brooks Jr. was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, had his bail set at $5 million, and had a preliminary hearing set for Jan. 14. Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper said additional charges related to the sixth death, as well as the injuries, are expected later this week or next week.

Original Story (Nov. 23, 2021): The suspect accused of plowing into people in a crash at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin appeared in court Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors charged Darrell Brooks Jr. with five counts of first degree intentional homicide. Conviction on just one of those counts carries a mandatory life sentence.

The crash killed 5 and injured 48 others. In a Monday news conference, clips of which are shown in the video above, Waukesha’s fire chief described the scene of the crash.

“It was just, I guess, for lack of a better [word] just carnage,” Steven Howard said. “I liken it to a war zone.” At a vigil for those killed and hurt Monday night, Waukesha’s mayor said the community has a long way to go before it’s fully healed. The video above also includes clip from the vigil.

“Tonight, we know that we have many more steps to go before we feel any type of closure from the pain that was wrought last night,” Mayor Shawm Reilly said.

According to Thompson, Brooks was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes before the crash at the Waukesha parade. Brooks has been charged with crimes 16 times since 1999 and had two outstanding cases against him at the time of the crash. This included resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery for an incident earlier this month. He had posted a $1,000 bail two days before the Waukesha parade crash.

“The heartbreak of this act is only compounded by the reality that this was yet another avoidable tragedy that occurred because a violent career criminal was allowed to walk free and terrorize our community,” former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R-WI) said in a Monday Twitter thread.

On Monday, Milwaukee County prosecutors called the bail recommendation “inappropriately low” and said they’d review it in light of the Waukesha parade crash. Given the details of the early November incident, in which Brooks Jr. is accused of deliberately hitting a woman with his car, a former assistant prosecutor said the bail could easily have been set more than twice as high.

“He was accused of running over the mother of his kid, and to put it at $1,000 strikes me as low,” Julius Kim said. “It could have been an inexperienced attorney who happened to be reviewing cases that day.”

Dan Thompson, Waukesha Police Chief: “At nine p.m. Sunday, November 21st, 2021 a lone subject intentially drove his maroon SUV through barricades, into a crowd of people that were celebrating the Waukesha Christ parade, which resulted in killing five individuals and injuring 48.”

“We have information that the subject prior to the incident was involved in a domestic disturbance, which was just minutes prior and the suspect left that scene just prior to our arrival to that domestic disturbance.”

“The suspect involved in this tragic incident was identified as Darryl E. Brooks, male, 39 years of age, who is a resident of the city of Milwaukee. At this time, the Waukesha Police department is referring five counts of first degree homicide with additional charges based on the investigation. But those will come in time.”

“We have no information that Brooks knew anybody in the parade.”

“I’ll tell you this, we actually had a squad and barricades up and he drove right through the barricades and the officers. When an officer tried to engage and stop the threat, he still continued through the crowd.”

“When the suspect was driving through into the crowd, one officer did discharged his firearm and fired shots at the suspect to stop the threat, but due to the amount of people had to stop.”

“The suspect was taken into custody a short distance from the scene. We are confident that he acted alone. There’s no evidence that this is a terrorist incident.”

“I say this with great sorrow. Virginia Sorenson, 79 year old female. LeAnna Owens, 71-year-old female. Tamara Durand, 52-year-old female. Jane Kulick, 52-year-old female. Wilhelm Hospel, 81-year-old male.”

Steven Howard, Waukesha Fire Chief: “It was just, I guess, for lack of a better just carnage. I liken it to a war zone. There were adults, children that were injured. Some of our first responders were there with their families. They left their families to to treat people, help  incident command, help transport, along with many other medical personnel and people that were there, but I guess the what stands out in my mind from our conversations is we do have people who have military backgrounds and likened it to, you know, a war zone.”

Shawn Reilly, Waukesha mayor: “Tonight, this vigil is a small first step in healing for our community. Tonight, we know that we have many more steps to go before we feel any type of closure from the pain that was wrought last night.”

Rev. Kris Androsky, faith leader (speaking alongside faith leader Rev. David Simmons): “And so, we remember.”

Simmons: “Wilhelm Hospel.”

Androsky: “Virginia Sorenson.”

Simmons: “LeAnna Owen.”

Androsky: “Tamara Durand.”

Simmons: “Jane Kulich.”

Amanda Medina Roddy, Waukesha school district: “We are parents. We are neighbors. We are hurting. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are thankful. We are all in this together. We are Waukesha Strong.”