Waukesha parade: Father reveals how he pushed daughter out of harm’s way at final moment

Father told reporters: ‘If I had to get hit, I had to get hit’

Gino Spocchia
Monday 22 November 2021 18:52 GMT

Waukesha parade watcher says he pushed daughter out of harms way

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A man who witnessed the tragedy at the Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, has revealed how he came within two feet of the SUV that killed five and injured 40 more.

Thomas Kluka Jr, who was at the parade with his wife and teenage daughter and a friend on Sunday, said he saw the SUV coming towards him when he yelled for his family to move.

Authorities have so far confirmed five deaths and as of Monday, six children are still in a critical condition at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital.

“I noticed him coming through the crowd and I noticed something was not right”, Mr Kluka Jr told TODAY. “and then I seen kind of like just people flying as I stood up”.

He continued: “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”.

The family were among dozens who witnessed an SUV breach a barricade during the annual Christmas parade.

The suspect and alleged SUV driver, 39-year-old Darrell Brooks, was identified on Monday morning.

An investigation is ongoing, amid speculation that he was fleeing from a crime when he broke the barricade around the Christmas parade.

Mr Kluka Jr described how the SUV “came right past me within at least two feet” and that he “could’ve touched the car going by.”

He added of his daughter, who has attended the parade for most of her life: “I wanted to get her out of the way, 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.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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