After fatal crash in the Wisconsin Christmas parade, survivor shares account

Story highlights A Slinger Walmart & Home Depot were both closed on Tuesday Authorities say they are investigating the deadly crash, which occurred Sunday night. An SUV plowed into a packed crowd of people…

Story highlights A Slinger Walmart & Home Depot were both closed on Tuesday

Authorities say they are investigating the deadly crash, which occurred Sunday night.

An SUV plowed into a packed crowd of people in a parade in Wisconsin on Sunday night, killing one and injuring seven others, including children.

The crash happened during the annual Slinger Christmas parade. Authorities say the driver was intoxicated, and preliminary reports suggest it may have been caused by a medical episode.

Anyone who witnessed the incident can leave their testimony at the Slinger Police Department at the address at 1127 N. Ninth St.

Please note that you may only speak with police if you have possession of a recorded camera and are directly involved in the crash.

While dozens of people witnessed the crash, we’re sharing the accounts of people who were there for the chance to share their stories.

‘It could have been me’

On Monday, Waukesha’s Police Chief Russell Jack announced that police and firefighters, along with prosecutors, were investigating the collision and could seek charges against the driver, who was identified as 60-year-old Kelly Malecki.

Malecki was the only person injured in the crash.

Matthew Johnson, who was in the parade, says it was a matter of seconds before the car swerved into the crowd.

“I remember several of them, one by one, with their hands on the steering wheel. One car suddenly went in the wrong direction and totally broadsided the parade line,” he told local station WTMJ.

“It’s tough. As far as being in the parade, it was almost like a gift, you know, you think you could just sit back and enjoy the parade, and then this happened,” another witness said, adding that he wished Malecki would have reacted differently.

‘People piled on top of each other’

Another witness, Robert Ephroise, told CNN affiliate WTMJ that he never saw the car coming.

“I heard it hitting several people and it was just a big explosion. I saw the fire truck and ambulance pass by on the opposite side of the parade line. Then all of a sudden we saw people piling on top of each other,” he said.

Ephroise also said the crowd was swollen due to the winter weather that was in effect at the time.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW

Other witnesses said that the parade was the only place in the entire town with adequate seating because of its altitude. Some of those who were injured were taken to a nearby Walmart, where they were treated and discharged on the scene.

‘I’m heartbroken for all the families affected’

John Kneer and his father, Fred, were also in the parade when the crash happened.

John tells CNN that Fred has been in the parade for about 16 years. Both told WTMJ that they were shocked and saddened by the crash.

“The main thing is we’re a community and we love each other and support each other. We’re all in mourning right now,” Fred told WTMJ.

In a statement, Walmart said the tragedy was “deeply disturbing,” and it was reviewing what happened. The Home Depot also issued a statement on the death of a store employee, praising the “dedication and hard work” of the support staff.

A GoFundMe set up for family and friends of the victim, Jasmine Sykes, had raised more than $104,000 as of Tuesday morning.

“Please join me in doing everything we can to help the family of Jasmine and all the other people who were affected by this tragedy. She has a fiance, parents, siblings and friends who care deeply about her and need us to be here for them,” the post reads.

“Our hearts go out to them during this difficult time and please understand how difficult it is to hear this news,” the post also reads.

Symone C. Merkley contributed to this story.

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