Drunk driver crashes into holiday parade crowd in Wisconsin

Man tried to get into vehicle after crashing it but police stopped him and discovered person driving it was dead

Multiple people were killed and dozens were hurt when a drunk driver plowed his SUV into a Wisconsin holiday parade crowd, police said Monday.

Police described the crash that happened in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, as “gruesome” and “horrific”. The truck came to rest upside down, its front end resting in a lake near a children’s parade float where some of the victims had been standing. The driver, a 24-year-old man, was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.

Autopsies were completed but police were not releasing the names of the dead or the people hurt or how badly they were hurt.

Officers stopped the man driving the truck and discovered the person driving it was dead.

“The people who were killed were on a float and had just crossed the street. They were not walking. And many of them were standing, and were sort of dazed and dinged up,” Turtle Lake police chief Dave Calabrese said.

People were running to help victims when Calabrese’s office officer arrived at the scene, Calabrese said.

“It just goes to show that a few seconds of carelessness can have life-changing consequences for many people,” he said.

Dane County sheriff’s sergeant Christopher Scott said: “This was not an accident. This is a very deliberate and very dangerous act.”

The incident was being investigated.

The Milwaukee County coroner’s office identified some of the victims as Rae-Anna Johnson, 21, Jessica Roberts, 26, and Lauren Johnson, 18.

Police said the festival was part of the St Michael event, a parade highlighting the area’s Catholic holiday and was scheduled to run Saturday from 1pm to 5pm. A statement from the Diocese of Madison said: “The Diocese of Madison is deeply saddened by this tragic incident. Our prayers are with the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy.”

The holiday commemorates the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s appearance to Jesus in a grotto in a southern Italian hill town, a major milestone in Christianity’s history. It is known locally as St Michael’s Feast Day, although it was listed on the holiday calendar of the diocese of Madison as Columbus Day.

Carnival and religious events include live music, dance and a parade.

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