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Eight-year-old boy becomes sixth victim of Waukesha parade crash as suspect is held on $5 million bond

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An eight-year-old boy has become the sixth person to die in the Waukesha parade crash. The man accused of driving through the Wisconsin holiday parade route has been charged with five counts of intentional homicide.

The death of Jackson Sparks was announced on a GoFundMe page set up for the family.

Jackson Sparks
Jackson Sparks

Darrell Brooks, 39, made his first court appearance Tuesday. His bail was set at $5 million. 

Susan L. Opper, the district attorney in Waukesha County, said she plans to file an additional charge of intentional homicide this week pertaining to the sixth victim. 

Judge Kevin Costello granted the district attorney's request for the $5 million bail, saying the unusually high amount was warranted due to the nature of the alleged crimes and Brooks' "extraordinary" history of breaking the law and not following court orders. "I have not seen anything like this in my very long career," Costello said. 

Five of the victims have been identified as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Jane Kulich, 52; Wilhelm Hospel, 81; and Tamara Durand, 52. The crash also left 62 people injured.

In a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, police officers who were working security at the parade said the incident appeared to be intentional. One officer said he initially believed Brooks was attempting to drive away from the parade route until he saw him take "an abrupt left turn" into the crowd. 

The officer said it then became clear "this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible." He also claimed Brooks' vehicle "appeared to be intentionally moving side to side."

A witness told police, "As I continued to watch the SUV, it continued to drive in a zigzag motion. It was like the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people. There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down." According to the complaint, several witnesses reported the same zigzag pattern to the police.

 

Hospital confirms child's death and says 6 remain in critical condition

Children's Wisconsin confirmed one of its patients died Tuesday from injuries sustained at the parade. The hospital did not identify the child, noting that the parents have asked for privacy. 

The hospital said six children in its care remain in critical condition. Three children are in fair condition, four are in good condition and two have returned home. 

By Sophie Reardon
 

Police officer describes seeing the suspect's face as he drove through parade

One of the police officers who was working at the parade and witnessed the incident said he saw the driver's face as he was heading towards the crowd of people, according to the criminal complaint.

The officer "observed the driver looking straight ahead, directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face," the complaint said. 

Although the officer was yelling at the driver to stop, he continued on into the next block, honking his horn and appearing to accelerate before crashing into the parade, the complaint said.

By Sophie Reardon
 

Police and other witnesses say it was an intentional act

In a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday, police officers who were working security at the parade said the incident appeared to be intentional.

Two officers said they saw the SUV before it entered the parade route and told the driver to stop but the driver ignored both of their warnings and drove off into the direction of the parade.

One officer who saw the SUV driving through the parade route noted that it went through an intersection where it could have easily exited the parade route. But instead, the driver chose to continue into the crowd of people, adding that the driver seemed to accelerate as he got closer to the crowd.

A witness told police, "As I continued to watch the SUV, it continued to drive in a zigzag motion. It was like the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people. There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down."

According to the complaint, several witnesses reported the same zigzag pattern to the police.

By Sophie Reardon
 

Bail set at $5 million

Judge Kevin Costello granted the district attorney's request for bail to be set at $5 million. Costello said the unusually high amount was warranted due to the nature of the alleged crimes and Brooks' "extraordinary" history of breaking the law and ignoring court orders.  

By Victoria Albert
 

Attorney says there is a sixth deceased victim

Waukesha County District Attorney Susan L. Opper said her office is aware of a sixth person who was killed during the incident, who was a child. She said she plans to file an additional charge of intentional homicide. 

By Victoria Albert
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