WAUKESHA-The Waukesha Police Department identified five casualties in the tragedy of the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Sunday night, including a woman who had taught in the Beaver Dam School District.
At about 4:30 pm, a red SUV driven by the suspect Darrell Brooks Jr. broke through the police roadblock and rushed into the parade. Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said at a press conference on Monday that investigators learned that Brooks was involved in a “family disturbance” before he drove into the parade route.
The age of the deceased ranges from 52 to 81 years old. Another 48 people were injured in the crash. The city’s live broadcast was filmed when the vehicle crashed into a high school band, children’s dance troupe, and Milwaukee dancing grandma.
Tamara Durand, a 52-year-old former Beaver Dam resident, was among the victims. According to her Facebook post before Sunday’s parade, she participated in the parade as a new member of Milwaukee’s dancing grandma.
Milwaukee Dancing Granny issued a statement saying they were destroyed.
“We are doing what we like to do, performing in front of the crowd, so that people of all ages are filled with smiles, so that they are filled with joy and happiness. During the performance, the aunts enjoyed hearing it very much. The cheers and applause of the crowd, of course, warmed their hearts with a smile on their faces. Those who died were very enthusiastic grandma. Their eyes sparkled… the joy of being a grandma.”
While working at Beaver Dam, Durand (formerly Frinak) was an elementary school teacher and cheerleader instructor in the Beaver Dam Unified School District. In August 2009, when she rescued a drowning man from the Wisconsin River, she made the headlines. At the time of the rescue, Durand was a resident pastor at the Waso Aspilus Hospital.
Survivors of Durand include her three children, Aryanna (Andy) Bohl, Natalia Frinak and Alex Frinak; grandson Eli Bohl; other family and friends.
An inter-religious prayer vigil will be held for the victims at 5 pm. Held at Cutler Park in Waukesha on Monday, November 22.