Father Risked His Life To Rescue Daughter From Speeding SUV At Wisconsin Christmas Parade
Nov 24, 2021 by apost team
Hundreds of mourning community members gathered at a park in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Monday, Nov. 21, to honor victims of a deadly attack at a local Christmas parade, according to the Associated Press.
Earlier that evening, a red SUV drove through parade barricades and into crowds, killing at least six and injuring more than 60, though this is a developing story.
Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, has been arrested and charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, and AP reports that additional charges related to injured spectators and the sixth death will be filed in the coming weeks. Brooks’ hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14, and his bail is set at $5 million.
Thomas Kluka Jr. was at the parade with his 14-year-old daughter, her friend and his wife when Brooks drove into the crowd. The truck missed the family by just a few feet, TODAY reports.
"I noticed him coming through the crowd and I noticed something was not right, and then I seen kind of like just people flying as I stood up," Kluka told TODAY on Monday.
"I'm like 'Oh no.' My daughter stood up, I threw her out of the way, then I basically yelled, 'Get out of the way,' and my wife got out of the way, and by the time she did, the car came right past me within at least two feet. I could've touched the car going by."
Kluka, who attends the parade with his daughter every year, likely saved her life thanks to his quick thinking.
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"I wanted to get her out of the way," he said. "That was my main concern was just to get her out of the way, just to make sure she was OK, her and her friend. If I had to get hit, I had to get hit, I was just making sure they got out of the way."
According to a criminal complaint obtained by AP, witnesses Brooks’ car “appeared to be intentionally moving side to side” as it ran into parade-goers. Even after a detective stepped in front of the SUV, yelling “Stop,” Brooks continued to drive through the crowd without slowing down.
“The nature of this offense is shocking,” said Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin Costello.
Since the horrific attack, the country has come out in support of victims both off and online.
Multiple fundraising campaigns on GoFundMe have sprung up in the past couple of days, with strangers and community members donating tens of thousands of dollars.
For instance, the Kohnke family has raised over $80,000 for their daughter, Jessalyn, who is in critical condition at the hospital.
“Thank you to everyone who has donated, put together meals, brought anything to the hospital … anything, no matter how big or small.
“My beautiful Jessalyn is a fighter. She was always full of spunk and sass, but has a huge heart,” Jessalyn’s mother Amber Kohnke wrote on GoFundMe.
And for those who had passed on, the Waukesha community held a candlelight vigil on Monday.
“We are parents. We are neighbors. We are hurting. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are thankful. We are all in this together. We are Waukesha Strong,” said Amanda Medina Roddy with the Waukesha school district at a vigil on Monday.
Our thoughts are with the entire Waukesha community. What do you think of Thomas Kluka Jr.’s story? Let us know — and ask your friends and family members what they think of Kluka's heroism.