WAUKESHA, Wis. — As the close-knit Waukesha community mourned the deaths of five beloved residents killed when a sport utility vehicle plowed through the Wisconsin city’s annual holiday parade early Sunday evening, family and friends remembered the six victims.
Update 7:55 p.m. EST Nov. 23: Prosecutors on Tuesday confirmed that a sixth victim, a child, had died.
Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, of Milwaukee was charged Tuesday with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the fatal parade crash, and prosecutors said more charges are pending. Brooks was ordered held on a $5 million cash bail, WISN reported.
Waukesha Chief of Police Dan Thompson on Monday identified five of the people killed as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel identified the sixth victim as 8-year-old Jackson Sparks.
Sixty-two other people were injured in the chaos.
Original report: Sorenson, Owen and Durand were all members of the popular Milwaukee Dancing Grannies troupe, and Hospel was a volunteer with the group. Meanwhile, Kulich was a Citizen Bank employee, and Sparks was marching with his baseball team when the SUV crashed through police barricades and entered the parade route, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Here’s what we know about the victims:
Jackson’s death was announced on his verified GoFundMe page and was confirmed by his baseball club and his family’s church, the Journal Sentinel reported.
According to a GoFundMe page established by a family member, Jackson and his 12-year-old brother, Tucker, were struck by the SUV during the parade and were hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Children’s Wisconsin.
Jackson underwent brain surgery on Sunday. Meanwhile, Tucker suffered a fractured skull and road rash but is expected to recover, the newspaper reported.
Jackson is the first child to die from injuries sustained in the incident.
Virginia ‘Ginny’ Sorenson
Virginia Sorenson, whom everyone called Ginny, loved to dance despite her bad back and bad hip and was considered the “beating heart” of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, the Journal Sentinel reported.
David Sorenson, her husband of 56 years, told the newspaper that Ginny Sorenson loved absolutely every aspect of the performance troupe and was holding a banner near the back of the entourage when she was killed.
“She liked the instructing. She liked the dancing and the camaraderie of the women. She liked to perform,” he said, recounting how she taught him the Can-Can at a church event when they met decades ago.
The Sorensons had three children and six grandchildren.
The couple’s daughter, Heather Sorenson, told the newspaper that her mother was a registered nurse, who still worked part-time in medical records to help spoil her grandchildren and offset the expense of owning two horses in Muskego.
Ginny Sorenson, 79, had been a member of the Dancing Grannies for 19 years.
Tamara Durand, 52, was a former elementary school teacher and cheerleading coach with the Beaver Dam Unified School District, the Daily Citizen reported.
Durand debuted as a Milwaukee Dancing Granny during Sunday’s parade, according to a post she made on her personal Facebook page immediately prior to the festivities.
Durand made headlines in August 2009 when she rescued a man from drowning in the Wisconsin River. At the time of the save, she was a resident chaplain at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, Wisconsin, the Daily Citizen reported.
She is survived by her three children, Aryanna (Andy) Bohl, Natalia Frinak and Alex Frinak; a grandson, Eli Bohl; and a host of other family and friends, the newspaper reported.
Jane Kulich, 52, was a member of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies and an employee of Citizen Bank, her daughter confirmed to the Journal Sentinel.
“Our condolences go out to (Kulich’s) family and friends for this inconceivable loss,” the bank said in a prepared statement. “Please lift our team and the entire community as we all grieve.”
Kulich’s daughter, Taylor Smith, told CNN that her mother was representing the bank in the Christmas parade when she was struck and killed.
“She was an amazing mom and grandma. Everyone loved her,” Smith told the network.
Earlier Smith posted a simple message about the tragedy on Facebook.
“My mom was killed last night. We are told she didn’t suffer,” Smith wrote.
Kulich is survived by her three children and three grandchildren, CNN reported.
Wilhelm ‘Bill’ Hospel
Witnesses told WISN that Wilhelm “Bill” Hospel, 81, was walking in the parade with his wife and handing out water to the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies.
According to a Facebook post shared by a relative referring to him as “Uncle Bill,” Gospel was the youngest of four brothers, all of whom live in the Milwaukee area, but was born in Germany.
“I am heartbroken to share my Uncle Bill was one of the victims of the Parade Massacre in Waukesha, WI. My Aunt Lola was one of the Dancing Grannies. She was injured as well, but will be physically ok,” the relative wrote.
Hospel is survived by his wife, son, three brothers and other family members, the TV station reported.
LeAnna Owen, 71, was a member of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies.
According to CNN, she worked as a manager at Packard Glen Apartments for nearly 10 years, according to CNN.
No additional information was immediately available.
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