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Nearly $3m raised for Waukesha Christmas parade victims

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Jeffrey Phelps/AP</span>
Photograph: Jeffrey Phelps/AP

Nearly $3m has been raised for victims of the Waukesha Christmas parade incident, in which a car plowed into the crowd in the Wisconsin city earlier this month, killing six people and injuring more than 60.

About 7,000 donors from all 50 US states and 12 countries have contributed $1.8m to the United for Waukesha Community Fund, organizers said. The largest donor was General Electric, giving $100,000. According to the Waukesha County Community Foundation, Kohl’s, the Walbec group and American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation each donated $50,000.

The Milwaukee Bucks NBA franchise, the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team and fans have raised more than $75,000 between them.

More than $1m has also been raised under an umbrella GoFundMe page, with over 29 verified accounts.

The Sparks family has received the most, at $444,124 as of Monday and from more than 10,000 donors. Jackson Sparks, eight, died on 23 November as a result of his injuries. His brother Tucker Sparks, 12, sustained road rash and a fractured skull and is currently recovering.

Donations to the GoFundMe accounts range from $2,500 to $213,500.

Organizers of the United for Waukesha Community Fund said: “Our priority is with the families of the deceased and hospitalized. Followed by those seeking medical attention (non-hospitalized). With additional support provided for those needing mental health, trauma and grief counseling.”

The fund distribution process “will include representation from the mayor’s office, county executive’s office, United Way for Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, Waukesha County Community Foundation, school district of Waukesha, as well as trusted community leaders”.

Last Tuesday, prosecutors in Wisconsin charged Darrell Brooks Jr with five counts of intentional homicide. Conviction carries a mandatory life sentence, Wisconsin’s stiffest penalty. Bail was set at $5m.

Brooks had been free on $1,000 bail for a case in Milwaukee county in which he is accused of intentionally striking a woman with his car. Prosecutors said they were investigating that bail recommendation, calling it inappropriately low.

“He was accused of running over the mother of his kid and to put it as $1,000 strikes me as low,” said Julius Kim, a defense attorney and former assistant prosecutor.

The Waukesha police chief, Dan Thompson, said Brooks, 39, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute when he drove into the parade.

Brooks has been charged with crimes more than a dozen times since 1999 and had two outstanding cases. Charges against him included resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery.

GoFundMe pulled a fundraiser for Brooks, created in an effort to raise bail.

“Fundraisers with misuse are very rare and we take all complaints very seriously,” a spokesman said. “Our team works with law enforcement to report issues and assists them in any investigations they deem necessary.”

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