Friends and families of about 60 people, including many children, hit by an SUV that sped through a Christmas parade in a suburban Milwaukee downtown say many sustained life-threatening injuries.
One of them, eight-year-old Jackson Sparks, died on Tuesday, his parents announced on his GoFundMe page.
His brother, 12-year-old Tucker Sparks, was to be discharged from hospital.
The boys — among three sets of siblings hospitalized after being struck by the SUV — were marching with their baseball team when they were hit.
Tucker has head injuries, but was recovering, said Alyssa Albro, a niece of the boys’ parents, Aaron and Sheri Sparks.
Jackson Sparks sustained a more serious brain injury.
“The entire family is devastated,” Albro wrote.
A young girl who is a member of a dance troupe struck by the SUV, a moment captured on cellphone video, woke up on Monday and told doctors: “Just glue me back together,” said her GoFundMe page, which is organized by a family friend.
“No child or parent should have to endure this amount pain and suffering,” the girl’s mother, Amber Konhke, wrote on Tuesday.
The fundraising pleas detail the extent of some of the injuries from the incident that has left six people dead so far and more than 60 hurt.
The suspect, Darrell Brooks Jr, was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
A sixth count for the death of Jackson Sparks, which happened after the complaint was drawn up, would be added, Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper said.
Konhke’s daughter Jessalyn is shown smiling directly at the camera on one GoFundMe page, wearing a white Santa hat and holding matching pompoms.
She is standing alongside other girls on the Waukesha Xtreme Dance team in a picture taken moments before she was struck.
Jessalyn Konhke is “fighting for her life,” said the fundraising account, which was established by family friend Oscar Luna.
The girl lost a kidney, has a broken pelvis, and damage to her liver and lungs, Luna said.
“This holiday season will be a brutal one for them,” he said of their family.
Julia, who was also marching with her dance team and whose last name is not given, “is in the fight for her life,” with brain trauma after being hit, her fundraising page established by family friend Jen McCarthy said.
“Everyone that knows this little girl knows what joy she brings to the world,” the post said. “She has a heart of gold, a smile that can light up the room and is loved by so many.”
Aidan Laughrin, a senior at Waukesha South High School, was hit while performing with the marching band.
He sustained fractured ribs, an online fundraiser said.
The family is “tough, but the road ahead is going to be tough too, both physically and emotionally,” the organizer wrote.
Tamara Rosentreter was doing what she loved, entertaining the crowd as part of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, when she was struck by the SUV that took the lives of three of her fellow dancers.
The mother of four and grandmother of one was the leader of the troupe, an online fundraiser seeking help for Rosentreter’s recovery said.
She described how a woman prayed for her at the scene “to help give me peace and comfort,” and how another kept her warm with a blanket.
“This tragedy is so hard to wrap my head around,” she said, adding that her “heart aches” for the victims and their families, those who witnessed the devastation and “for my teammates and their families who are my family.”
A Waukesha County Community Foundation fund had raised more than US$900,000 by Tuesday.
“There’s so much outpouring of support,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said. “It warms your heart to know that people are saying: ‘We support your community, we feel for you.’”
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