Pro Series racer honors Waukesha Christmas Parade victims: Updates

The man accused of intentionally driving into the Waukesha Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring more than 60, was charged Tuesday with 5 counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

Check below for updates as Journal Sentinel reporters and photographers cover the aftermath of the Waukesha tragedy on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

Pro Series racer honors Waukesha Christmas Parade victims and takes home the victory

Josh Bilicki, Wisconsin native, took home the number one spot at Daytona Monday, with a special emblem on the side of his car. "Thoughts & Prayers with Waukesha, WI," the logo read.

The professional NASCAR race drove alongside competitors from IndyCar, IMSA, NHRA and NASCAR during Monday Night's Racing Pro Series.

Bilicki dedicated the race to the victims of the Christmas Parade in Waukesha, which is just 30 minutes from his home. In fact, Bilicki personally knew of a friend and fan who was struck by the SUV and was so badly injured in the tragedy that he required surgery.

The event is often used by professional drivers to practice during off season training. This was Bilicki's first race in the series overall, the win qualified him for the playoffs and a chance at the championship. His next race is Monday.

— Drake Bentley

Three children discharged from hospital

Children’s Wisconsin announced it discharged three more children who were injured during the parade.

“We are thankful to share that three more kids injured on Sunday will be home for Thanksgiving, where they will continue their recovery,” the 4 p.m. announcement from the hospital read.

Ten others remain hospitalized: five patients are in critical condition, two in fair condition and three in good condition.

Families who need support can call the Children’s Wisconsin Mental and Behavioral Health Helpline at 414-266-6500. Individuals also can call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990.

— Devi Shastri

Local hospital discharges last parade patients

ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital announced Wednesday afternoon that “all of the remaining patients from the parade tragedy” who were treated there “have been discharged.”

Four people were admitted to the hospital in the aftermath of Sunday’s incident that killed six people and injured more than 60.

Late Tuesday, Children’s Wisconsin reported it was still caring for 13 patients. Six were in critical condition, three in fair condition and four in good condition.

— Bill Glauber

United for Waukesha Community Fund received 6,300 donations from 12 different countries in less than 3 days

Organizers for the United for Waukesha Community Fund shared that the fundraiser has already received 6,300 donations from 12 different countries as of Wednesday morning.

Those funds will go directly to benefit the victims of the Waukesha Christmas Parade Tragedy.

The fund was set up by Amy Lindner, the president & CEO of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and Shelli Marquardt, president of the Waukesha County Community Foundation.

"Waukesha is a big, little city and we are about one degree of separation away from anyone who was at the parade or who knows someone that was impacted by this," said Marquardt, who lives in Waukesha County.

A committee will be set up soon by the organizers of the fundraiser to decide exactly how to distribute the funds.

The first round of funds will go directly to the families of those who have lost a loved one, Lindner said.

To donate, you can visit the United for Waukesha Community Fund webpage at

You can also donate by cash or check at any Landmark Credit Union branch.

You can mail cash or checks to:

United Way Pledge Processing:

P.O. Box 88988

Milwaukee, WI 53288-8988

The organizers ask that any check have a memo of “United for Waukesha Community Fund."

More: 'It's overwhelming:' United for Waukesha Community Fund started in aftermath of Sunday's tragedy, grew quickly

— Evan Casey

Moment of reflection, prayer planned for Thanksgiving Day

“Take a moment to reflect and pray” at 4:39 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for those suffering in the wake of the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy, Bell Ambulance posted on Facebook Wednesday.

The post encouraged people to pray for the victims, their families and for Waukesha.

The names of the victims who were killed in the incident are Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Wilhelm Hospel, 81, Jane Kulich, 52, and Jackson Sparks, 8. More than 60 others were injured.

— Hannah Kirby

Waukesha Blazers club sets up memorial fund for families

The Waukesha Blazers Baseball/Fastpitch Softball Club has established a memorial fund to help families affected by the parade tragedy “heal and move forward.”

Jackson Sparks, 8, was marching with the Blazers when he was struck by the SUV on Sunday. He died Tuesday from his injuries. His 12-year-old brother, Tucker, was also hospitalized.

“Jackson Sparks’ passing yesterday was very difficult,” the Blazers organization said in a statement. “We also know that adults and children who were at the Waukesha Christmas Parade are now dealing with emotional and mental health challenges after experiencing a senseless act of violence.”

Donations will go toward families’ medical expenses, counseling and future memorials for those affected by the incident.

Donate to the Blazers’ online fundraiser here.

— Sophie Carson

Detroit officials are adding extra safety measures for city’s Thanksgiving parade following Waukesha tragedy

Police in Detroit are adding “extra measures” to ensure the city’s upcoming Thanksgiving parade is safe, following the tragic Waukesha Christmas parade incident Sunday. Other communities across the nation — from Waco, Texas, to Knoxville, Tennessee — are also reviewing safety plans for their upcoming holiday parades.

The Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday that Detroit police command staff were making moves to increase the safety of the upcoming parade, titled “America's Thanksgiving Parade.”

The 2.7 mile parade route runs through Downtown Detroit.

“Likewise in Oakland County, all county sheriff’s substations were notified to be aware of risks for community events,” the article said.

On Monday, Menomonee Falls announced the cancelation of its annual Christmas Parade, scheduled for Nov. 28, after an SUV plowed into the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Sunday, killing six people and injuring 48 others.

Whitefish Bay has also decided not to have its Holiday Stroll Parade, which was scheduled for Friday, according to a Merchants of Whitefish Bay special edition newsletter.

— Evan Casey

Ravens' Kevin Zeitler, Steelers' Joe Schobert, Derek Watt to help pay funeral, medical expenses of parade victims

NFL players and southeastern Wisconsin natives Kevin Zeitler, Joe Schobert and Derek Watt have announced they're helping cover funeral and medical expenses of victims of the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy Sunday. The fatal event left six dead and at least 62 wounded.

Zeitler, a Baltimore Ravens guard and Waukesha native, announced Tuesday that he and his wife Sara will assist victims with expenses.

"In light of the recent tragic events at the Waukesha Christmas Parade on November 21st, 2021, we want out community to know that we see them, love them , and we're here for them," the Zeitlers wrote on Twitter. "Our primary goal is to have the focus remain on the families who were directly impacted by last weekend's tragedy and to help make sure any financial burdens are taken care of. We feel that the best way to help the affected families is to assist with funeral and medical expenses by donating to the fund which was set up by United Way and the Waukesha County Community Foundation. Together, we are #WaukeshaStrong."

The Pittsburgh Steelers' Schobert, of Waukesha, and Watt, of nearby Pewaukee, also tweeted statements proclaiming that "we want our community to know that we see them, love them, and we're here for them" and announcing donations to a fund set up by the United Way and Waukesha County Community Foundation to assist with funeral and medical expenses.

Pope Francis offers condolences

Pope Francis has offered his condolences to all who were affected by the Waukesha parade tragedy.

The pope passed on the message in a letter sent from the pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki.

Pope Francis wanted to convey “the assurance of his spiritual closeness” to those affected by the tragedy, Parolin wrote.

The pope “commends the souls of those who died to almighty God's loving mercy and implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved,” Parolin wrote. “He joins you in asking the Lord to bestow upon everyone the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence and overcomes evil with good.”

The excerpt from the letter was shared with media outlets by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Members of the Catholic Community of Waukesha, which consists of four parishes, were marching in the parade when they were struck. Among the injured was the Rev. Patrick Heppe, a parish priest.

Heppe suffered a concussion and spent Sunday night in a hospital, but he has been released.

“At this time, he is resting, maintaining his sense of humor and his prognosis is good. He appreciates your prayers and is thinking of and praying for our community,” Monica Cardenas, director of stewardship and communication, said in a statement.

— Sophie Carson

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Waukesha Christmas parade: Pro Series racer honors Waukesha victims