NS 58th Annual Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday was the first time Tamara Durand performed with the beloved troupe called Dancing Grannies.
But what was believed to be a festive ritual ended in tragedy for the 52-year-old and dozens of others after a red SUV plowed through a fence and into a crowd. Durand, who worked as a health and critical care chaplain at Waukesha Memorial Hospital, was among at least five people killed in the chaos. At least 48 other people were injured, including more than a dozen children.
“She’s so full of energy, she’s the type of person that when she walks into the room everyone notices her smile,” Durand’s husband, Dave, told The Daily Beast in an interview. by phone on Monday. “She has literally danced her way her whole life. She is the youngest in Dancing Grannies. Dancing is her favorite thing. It was her first time even for them, it was also very tragic. ”
Waukesha Police Department confirmed Monday that Darrell Brooks, a 39-year-old sex offender who was recently released on bail for reckless endangerment, was arrested as the sole suspect in the SUV attack. Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson said Monday that the carnage came just minutes after Brooks was involved in “a disturbance in the home.”
Brooks is currently facing multiple charges for the shocking incident that killed Virginia “Ginny” Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71 years old; Jane Kulich, 52 years old; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81 years old.
In addition to the five victims, numerous marchers were injured in the attack – including at least 18 children. Among them are members of Waukesha Xtreme Dance Team, performers at the parade. A GoFundMe campaign for one of the young dancers who was hit head-on by an SUV, Jessalyn, said she’s been “fighting for her life” since Monday morning.
“She is in [sic] ICU in high oxygen conditions, loss of a kidney, broken pelvis, liver tear, lung damage, tachycardia and multiple blood transfusions,” Verified campaign said. “Prayers, hopes and faiths are being called for this very minute!”
NS Milwaukee Dancing Grannies confirmed to The Daily Beast that in addition to Durand, Sorenson and Owen are members of an amateur dance troupe that has been involved with local parades for nearly 40 years. CBS58 reported that Hospel’s wife was also a member of the group — and he volunteered to help.
“Those who have died were extremely passionate Grannies,” the group said in a statement Monday. “Their eyes sparkle…. the joy of being Grannie. They are the glue… that holds us together. ”
Virginia Sorenson’s husband told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his wife of more than five decades was the instructor and choreographer for the Grannies. David Sorenson added that the group’s 19-year veteran and registered nurse was near the back of the crowd holding banners as Brooks pulled into the street.
“What does she like about it? Everything,” he told the newspaper, adding that he was also helping at the event. “She loves to guide. She enjoys dancing and the close friendship of women. She loves performing. ”
But Durand, who met his future wife when they were in high school, was not present at Sunday’s parade along with his brother and some of his nieces and nephews. When he learned about the accident, he “ran out” to get to the location as quickly as possible.
“They’ve cordoned off everything and we can’t really get in,” he told The Daily Beast.
Grief remains intact and funeral arrangements are in limbo, he added.
“Unfortunately, because it was a crime scene, they needed to do an autopsy,” Durand said. “I identified her body last night, so we’re in custody.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/dancing-granny-tamara-durand-killed-in-waukesha-parade-was-making-her-grand-debut?source=articles&via=rss ‘Dancing Granny’ Tamara Durand Killed In Waukesha Parade Made Her First Debut