Wisconsin Catastrophe: Killing Six, Leaving More than 60 Injured


Tyler Vinhais

Parked Parade: A parked car outside of a Christmas parade.

Luke Cruz and Tyler Vinhais

     The Waukesha Christmas Parade has been a holiday tradition for over half a century, bringing together the community of Waukesha in Wisconsin. The 59th annual Christmas parade was held on Sunday, November 21, 2021, with the theme being comfort and joy.

     This year’s parade was not so joyful when a reckless driver drove into the parade, killing six and injuring more than 60 in what Steve Howard, chief of the Waukesha Fire Department, compares to a war zone-like scene. 

     Darell E. Brooks, the alleged driver, drove into two groups of dancers in the street with a sports-utility vehicle including grandmothers and children. This left five dead on impact with one more passing after being hospitalized resulting in Brooks facing five counts of first-degree intentional homicide with more pending.

     Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, a hospital focused on pediatrics, said in a recent news conference that they checked in 18 children who were injured from the parade , six in critical condition. The sixth person to pass just a few days after being hospitalized was an eight year old child.

     History teacher Mr. Frank Tupka says, “I first heard about it via TikTok, where I saw several news clips from ABC and other outlets describing the events. My immediate reaction was intense sorry for all those who had been hurt and killed. It is absolutely heartbreaking to think of innocent families who were out participating in their community’s celebrations.”

     Brooks is no stranger to the justice system. He was set free in November of this year on a $1,000 bail when he allegedly tried to run over the mother of his child in a parking lot in Milwaukee with the same SUV, his 2010 Ford Escape. Brooks has also served two jail sentences in the past, spent years on probation and received a court-mandated work-release, and previously attended anger management programs.

     The parade, along with comfort and joy, was also Norman Rockwell themed, in honor of the painter and illustrator. Many people attended the parade to celebrate both the holidays and the American painter. 

     English teacher Ms. Victoria DePalma says, “At what is typically a joyous time of the year, the story of this event was tragic to read and my heart goes out to all who experienced this and those still recovering.”

     Tucker and Jackson Sparks, brothers who attended the parade, remain in the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin with both suffering head injuries. Tucker, 12, currently is recovering from head injuries while Jackson, 8, is suffering a more serious brain injury. 

     More than $700,000 has been raised for the Sparks’ family through GoFundMe as many are praying for both boys to recover safely.

     Darrell Brooks’ trial is currently underway with five counts of intentional homicide charged against him with more charges pending.