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Suspect Darrell Brooks faces victims of the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy in court

Posted at 8:59 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 21:59:58-05

WAUKESHA, Wisc.  — Darrell Brooks, the man accused of driving his SUV through the Waukesha Christmas Parade, killing six people - including an 8-year-old child - and seriously injuring dozens more, was in court Friday.

This comes as more than 70 additional criminal charges were filed against Brooks this week.

Brooks wore a red jail-issued jumpsuit, and his hair was pulled back as he sat with his attorneys for the preliminary hearing, which determined that there is enough evidence for the case against Brooks to go to trial.

The one and only witness who took the stand to speak was Waukesha Police Detective Tom Casey, who was helping with traffic control at the Christmas Parade. He was the first person to encounter the SUV.

“The vehicle started driving into me, it was a slow speed at that point,” Detective Casey said. “I was pounding on the hood yelling for it to stop. As the vehicle kept pushing through, my position changed to the driver’s side of the vehicle. I could see directly into the driver’s side window and saw Darrell Brooks clearly. I pounded on the window for him to stop.”

Detective Casey and attorneys on both sides then went through the order of who the SUV hit, including members of the Waukesha South Band, the Blazers Baseball Team, the Waukesha Extreme Dance Team, and the Dancing Grannies.

Hearing this testimony and seeing Darrell Brooks in-person for the first time was difficult for victims of the parade tragedy and their families who showed up to court.

“It was the first time I was able to be there for one of his court appearances,” said Tyler Pudleiner. “I felt compelled to be there to show him that we’re stronger, and at the end of the day, he’s not going to see the light of day again.”

Pudleiner, a member of the Waukesha South High School Band, is still recovering from internal injuries and broken teeth. He regularly has nightmares about the parade.

“Waukesha Strong” gear is not allowed to be showing in the courtroom, but Pudleiner made sure to wear it under his coat and shared a post on social media encouraging everyone to wear theirs on days that Brooks will be in court from here on out.

“It’s special how much it has picked up,” Pudleiner said. “A lot of people shared photos wearing their Waukesha Strong shirts. It reminds us we’re all stronger together and can get through this.”

Brooks faces life in prison. He will be back in court on Feb.11 when he’ll be arraigned on the more than 70 added charges against him. Some of those charges include endangering safety with a dangerous weapon, hit and run resulting in death, felony bail jumping, and misdemeanor domestic abuse.