MILWAUKEE — An SUV sped into a Christmas parade in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, leaving multiple people injured, according to the city’s mayor and witnesses Sunday.
Police in Waukesha, located about 20 miles west of Milwaukee, were urging people to avoid the downtown area. Mayor Shawn Reilly told WITI in Milwaukee that he does not believe there is any current danger to the public.
Videos posted to social media, including a live feed of the parade operated by the City of Waukesha, show a red SUV breaking through barriers and speeding into the roadway where the parade was taking place.
In the city’s footage, taken from a distance, the SUV speeds into the parade just behind a school marching band. A reporter at the scene said that a red SUV came barreling down the street, and the crowd could hear the thuds as it struck people, leaving many on the ground.
Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, said he had just finished marching in the parade with his family and friends before he saw the car drive through the parade.
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“We saw an SUV cross over, just put the pedal to the metal and just zooming full speed along the parade route,” Tenorio said. “And then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle. And then we saw people running away or stopping crying, and there are people on the ground who looked like they’d been hit by the vehicle.”
He added, “It just all happened so fast.”
Alderman Don Paul Browne said he had been marching in the front of the parade and was almost home when his wife texted asking if he was okay.
“I am in shock,” he said. “This parade draws people from all over, even Jefferson County. I am numb. It is pretty upsetting.”
He added, “My inclination was to try to help, but that may be the last thing the police would need. The best I can do is be a source for people. We have to worry about shootings now. It breaks my heart.”
Waukesha is celebrating its 125th year with celebrations throughout the year. The parade, which runs through downtown, officially kicks off the holiday season in the city and is always one of the biggest events of the year in the city.
Contributing: Celina Tebor, USA TODAY; Cathy Kozlowicz and Kaylee Staral, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; The Associated Press