So far, five people have lost their lives when an SUV rammed through the tight crowds of a small town’s Christmas parade. Authorities have captured the suspect, who they have identified as 39-year old Darrell Brooks, Jr. in the small town of Waukesha, Wisconsin just outside of Milwaukee. As children danced and waved along the parade route, the SUV would be seen tearing through the crowd, striking men, women, and children with deadly force.
Such a terrible tragedy at what was meant to be a joyful occasion has left a small town devastated and a nation in mourning. In this issue, we’ll look at what led up to this horrible event and the laws on the books to hold those responsible accountable.
Was the Rittenhouse Verdict the Reason Behind the Waukesha Attack?
Videos of a red SUV tearing through the crowds in Waukesha are hard to watch as you can see absolute terror and confusion on the faces of the crowd. While marching bands played, flag twirlers twirled, and little girls danced merrily in the crowd, the red SUV driven by named-suspect, Darrell Brooks, can be seen racing along the main parade route. The marching band would be plowed into from behind where several members were hit and rolled over as the SUV continued on its deadly path. The SUV hit more onlookers later in the route including the members of a youth dance team and an elderly community group.
In a CNN report posted earlier today, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson named Darrell Brooks as the only suspect in the event. The report notes that Darrell Brooks was out on bail from a domestic abuse case not two weeks prior to the incident and was reportedly fleeing some form of altercation when he plowed his SUV through barricades and into the crowd at the Christmas parade. Chief Thompson did not believe the Rittenhouse verdict was connected to the tragedy in Waukesha.
Farah and Farah Managing Partner, Chuck Farah, explains that motive is not always the immediate focus in an accident investigation, at least not before a trial. “While motive can be hard to deduce, our team looks at the facts of an accident case to see just who is responsible and how much the law says a victim is entitled to recover. For victims and their families, worried about their immediate needs and costs, this takes priority”, Chuck explains.
What Happens When a Vehicle Hits a Pedestrian
The videos from the Waukesha Christmas parade show what seems to be a mid-size SUV, possibly a later-model Ford Explorer. As a reference, a 2008 Ford Explorer has an empty weight of 4,436 pounds, according to Cars.com, which is more than 2 tons. This weight creates a tremendous amount of force that is transferred from the vehicle to a pedestrian at impact. Speed plays a role in how serious the impact is, so next we’ll look at the statistics behind vehicle-pedestrian crashes.
Looking at a two-year study posted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, results show that the risk of severe injury for a pedestrian stands at 50% with a vehicle going 31 miles per hour. That statistic jumps to 75% at 39 mph and 90% at 46 mph. It is unknown how fast the red SUV was travelling along the parade route but eye-witness videos show it to be a high rate of speed.
The same AAA study shows that the average risk of death for pedestrians hit by vehicles is 25% at 32 mph, 75% at 50 mph, and 90% at 58 mph. So far, five victims have lost their lives in the Waukesha tragedy but many of the more than 40 injured remain in critical condition.
Who is Liable for Compensating Victims & Their Families?
After an event like this, there are very real consequences for the victims. Right now, five different families are mourning for the loss of their loved ones while dozens of others are praying their family members make it through the night. The question of who will pay for these victims’ medical bills, lost income, property damage, and possibly a lifetime of pain and suffering, will all be answered by the Wisconsin court system.
Florida is a no-fault state where when an accident occurs, each driver turns to their own insurance company to process the claim. Georgia has a modified comparative rule where liability is assigned based on an investigation to determine if negligence was involved and to what degree. Wisconsin follows a similar system as a tort state which means it relies on fault to see where liability is and ultimately which parties are eligible for compensation after an accident.
Since Wisconsin has modified comparative negligence, it means that fault can be assigned as a percentage of the total incident. For example, it may be found that the suspect is 90% responsible but that the police barricades he drove through were not up to safety standards so the Waukesha police department themselves is 10% responsible.
Injured in an Automobile Accident? We’ll Show You the Way Forward
Videos from the Waukesha Christmas parade have been posted through various media outlets and seen by millions around the world. Farah and Farah accident investigators use eyewitness videos like these, dash cams, security cameras, and other available footage to help put together what happens in car accidents and hold the responsible parties accountable.
Across Florida and Georgia, we make sure the insurance companies can’t ignore the facts of the case and work from the very beginning to investigate every aspect. If you or a loved one is ever hurt in a car accident, trust that our team will guide you every step of the way through the legal process and seek everything the law says you are entitled to. Talk to a real live person now to start the process.