Case against Waukesha parade suspect will move forward with 77 charges

Court commissioner finds enough evidence to support the charges

Roses lean on a concrete structure in a park.
Flowers left at Veteran’s Park in memory of victims of the Christmas parade tragedy on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Waukesha, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

The case against the suspect in November’s Waukesha parade tragedy will move forward after a court commissioner found there is enough evidence to support the 77 charges against Darrell Brooks.

Waukesha County Court Commissioner Kevin Costello heard testimony from Waukesha Police Detective Thomas Casey during a preliminary hearing Friday.

Casey encountered Brooks at the Nov. 21 Christmas parade when Brooks allegedly began driving his SUV slowly into him.

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“As he continued pushing through me, my position change to the side of the vehicle,” Casey said. “I pounded on the driver’s side of the window and continued to tell him to stop.”

In court, Casey identified Brooks as the driver.

Casey continued to testify that Brooks sped into the crowded parade. Casey said he began running after the vehicle but was unable to keep up on foot.

Casey’s testimony continued, but from the standpoint of watching the rest of the incident on video. He described watching Brooks increasing his speed while plowing the vehicle into dozens of people, injuring 60 people and killing six.

During Casey’s testimony, Brooks did not move or react.

After listening to Casey’s testimony, Costello told Brooks there is “ample evidence” to show he committed a felony or felonies. He will be in court Feb. 11 where he is expected to enter a plea.

Brooks was previously charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide related to the victims killed in the crash. He is now facing a total of 77 charges related to the incident.

Brooks is charged in the deaths of:

  • Jackson Sparks, 8
  • Tamara Durand, 52
  • Jane Kulich, 52
  • LeAnna Owen, 71
  • Virginia Sorenson, 79
  • Wilhelm Hospel, 81

Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson said previously that Brooks had intentionally driven his vehicle into the parade. Authorities have said there is no clear motive as to why Brooks allegedly did so.

Prior to the parade crash, Brooks was accused of using his vehicle to hurt a woman in a separate incident. According to court records, Brooks confronted a woman outside a motel, knocking her phone out of her hand and driving off. Authorities said Brooks then returned, punched her in the face and ran her over with his vehicle.

Brooks was out on $1,000 cash bail for the incident when he allegedly drove into the parade. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has come under fire for the low bail.

Republican state legislators from Waukesha County are calling on Gov. Tony Evers to remove Chisholm. A group of citizens in Milwaukee have also petitioned the governor to remove him.

On Dec. 2, Chisholm addressed a Milwaukee County Board committee and told the group Brooks being free was a mistake. He said it was human error resulting from a young, overworked prosecutor.