‘Everything Went Black’: The Children Caught in a Christmas Parade Tragedy
Facebook pages and GoFundMe appeals hinted at the damage: A multisport athlete at Waukesha South High School with “a broken femur, skull fracture, broken ribs, C4 vertebrae fracture, a bruised lung, and a pneumothorax (collapsed lung).” An 11-year-old girl with a fractured left leg and a head injury and in intensive care in a different hospital than her mother, who was hit, too. A saxophonist in the marching band at Waukesha South who has undergone two surgeries.
Chanda Hahn, 41, who had been dancing in the parade with her 13-year-old daughter, said that had their pompom routine not called for the whole group to “chassé” — or sidestep — to the left, they would have been mowed down as the S.U.V. blew through.
Afterward, she realized that the friend’s house where she had left her car was right near the spot where the S.U.V. had been abandoned. Tire tracks were still visible where the driver had plowed across her friend’s yard, scratching her car in the process.
“There was a child’s glove,” she said, “a black mitten. We believe it got stuck on the S.U.V.”
“We’re fine until we’re not, you know?” said Lisa Salb, whose granddaughter performed with the Xtreme Dance Team. Ms. Salb said her granddaughter was not struck, but that she will never forget her panicked search for the child on a street littered with small bodies.
“They were all wearing the same uniform and makeup, and we couldn’t tell which was her,” she said. “I would look at one and say a prayer, and then the next and say a prayer, and the next and the next.”
In the Becerra-Montes household, Yaretzi, the fourth of five children, said she remembers the crash only vaguely. Her mother and sister, however, were watching from the sidewalk as she was hit.
“We have videos,” said the sister, Ketzally, 17. “He was going around 40 miles per hour. He knocked her into the truck that was following behind, playing their music. We found her partly under it.”