Victims were among 70 people injured when a car collided with a float carrying parade participants in Wisconsin
Waukesha Christmas parade: Six children remain in critical condition and three sets of siblings among the injured
At least three sets of siblings were among those injured when a van ploughed into a group of spectators at a Christmas parade in western Wisconsin, state police said on Friday.
They said at least 70 people, including a number of children, were involved in the crash on Thursday. Nine remained in hospitals with injuries including traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, they said. The governor, Scott Walker, said on Friday that three sets of siblings were among those hurt.
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The man accused of running a red light and colliding with a float carrying parade participants in Waukesha, a town of 100,000 people about 50 miles south-west of Milwaukee, has not been identified. The driver, 42-year-old Scott Resch, has not been charged. Police said they expect to charge him in the coming days.
“The traveling public is reminded to be aware and not to drive distracted,” said Lt Paul Neudigate of the Wisconsin police department. “We believe that Resch’s actions were not a consequence of his distractions.”
The procession had been led by a horse-drawn carriage and more than a dozen floats. The van crashed into the contingent, sending some spectators airborne, during the Christmas parade. Some spectators were also thrown from their mowers as the parade passed them.
The driver of the van was unresponsive when emergency workers arrived and was later pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Police said Resch likely had a medical episode.
Police said the red Dodge Journey was coming westbound on Hanover Avenue, near Beloit, when it crossed the center line into oncoming traffic and collided with the float. The driver of the Dodge was not wearing a seatbelt and was taken to a hospital.
The Rev Chuck Schwecker, a pastor at the Evangelical Lutheran church in Waukesha, said a ride-along had taken more than 40 people, mostly children, from a candy store to the parade route, and they were passing through a light when the accident occurred.
“All of a sudden, we heard this loud screech,” he said. “Then we saw the people flying everywhere, and then it just got quiet.”
The elder child was so severely injured she was not breathing when rescue workers arrived, he said. He added that many of the children suffered “extremely serious injuries”.
Thursday’s accident was the second in Wisconsin in recent weeks. On 17 September, the body of a 49-year-old man was found in the Mississippi river near downtown Madison after he became separated from his younger sister while they were vacationing with friends. He was last seen alive in Tarrytown, New York, shortly before he was supposed to pick up her from New York University.