Girl, 11, struck by SUV in Christmas parade attack begged doctors to ‘glue her back together’

After an SUV driver rammed through the Waukesha Christmas parade, an 11-year-old girl who lost her kidney begged doctors to “glue her back together.” 

  • On Sunday, November 21, an SUV driver rammed through the Waukesha Christmas parade killing five and injuring over 40 people, including 18 children. 
  • One of the injured kids was Jessalyn Torres, 11, who lost a kidney and suffered a broken pelvis and lacerations to her lungs and remaining kidney. 
  • Following the tragic incident, the 11-year-old asked doctors to “glue her back together.” 
  • The children injured amid the attack were rushed to Children’s Wisconsin hospital.
  • The five victims of the ram were aged 52 to 81. Four of them were members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies. The fifth person was the husband of another member of the group. 

On Sunday, November 21, Darrell Brooks, 39, allegedly rammed his SUV into the Waukesha Christmas parade. As reported by Daily Mail, five people died after the attack, and over 40 were injured, including 18 children. One of them was 11-year-old Jessalyn Torres, who was left fighting for her life with a lost kidney, broken pelvis, and lacerations to her lungs and remaining kidney.

Pictured: Jessalyn Torres | Credits: Ryan Kohnke

Following the tragic incident, Jessa was rushed to Children’s Wisconsin hospital for emergency treatment, along with other injured kids, FOX 6 notes.

In an interview with The Sun, Ryan Kohnke, the 11-year-old’s uncle, assured he had high hopes she would recover, inspired by her indomitable spirit. He said:

“Even when I spoke to her this morning on the phone, she said to me, ‘Tell them to just glue me back together.”’

Commenting on the harrowing scene, he added:

“After I watched the guy barrel through, police trying to stop him, I knew my family was down there. I grabbed my two children and we ran down there, I’m a veteran myself and it was like a war zone. There were bodies all over, people were just trying to help as much as they could. I just wanted to get the younger kids out of there so that’s what I did.”

Jessa’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help her mother, Amber, pay for her medical expenses. 

Oscar Luna, a friend of the girl’s mother who runs the fundraiser page, wrote:

“No child or parent should have to endure this amount pain and suffering. My heart also goes out to all the other families who are also going through a hard time right now.”

Another victim of the reckless SUV driver was Erik Tiegs, a member of the Waukesha South Marching Band. The youngster suffered a broken femur, broken ribs, a bruised lung, and other injuries.

Pictured: Erik Tiegs | Credits: Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin

Erik’s brother, Tyson, commented:

“I’m upset. I’m mad. I am devastated, falling apart. I’m trying to keep it together for my family.”

Reflecting on the Sunday tragedy, Dr. Michael Gutzeit of Children’s Wisconsin said:

“The injuries from Sunday night will go well beyond the physical and will take time to heal. We must all continue to lean on each other and to encourage those impacted to reach out and to use the resources that are available to them.”

Among the other injured children were brothers Tucker and Jackson Sparks, Tyler Pudleiner, Aidan Laughrin, Kenzie Hollingsworth, and Camila Perez. 

Pictured: Tucker and Jackson Sparks | Credits: GoFundMe

Tucker Sparks, a 12-year-old boy, is recovering from a road rash and a fractured skull. His brother, Jackson, 8, had undergone brain surgery. In a GoFundMe page set up to help the family, the organizer, Alyssa Albro, wrote:

“Tucker is (…) stable at this time. Jackson, age 8, underwent brain surgery on Sunday evening. Doctors will be testing for brain function and brainstem activity. He needs a miracle.”

Tyler Pudleiner, a saxophone player at Waukesha South Band, was transported to the ICU and has undergone two surgeries.

Pictured: Tyler Pudleiner | Credits: Facebook

Aidan Laughrin, 16, also a Waukesha South Band member, suffered fractured ribs and severe bruising.

Pictured: Aidan Laughrin | Credits: GoFundMe

Kenzie Hollingsworth, a fourth-grader, suffered a fractured skull, bleeding in the brain, and a broken leg. Another GoFundMe fundraiser with the motto #Kenziestrong says:

“Miss Kenzie has a long road to recovery, but we know she is a strong, resilient, little angel!!!”

Pictured: Kenzie Hollingsworth | Credits: GoFundMe

Camila Perez suffers from a broken femur and has undergone emergency surgery. According to the New York Post, her mother, Romelia, who was also injured, has several broken bones. Rigoberto Perez, 47, Camila’s father, said:

“I was almost killed by it. I said, ‘Please God, don’t take my daughter and my wife.’ 

I have nothing to say to [Brooks]. I don’t know what’s wrong with him to be outside and kill people.”

Pictured: Camila and Romelia Pere | Credits: GoFundMe

Among others injured were members of Lucero Perales’ family, Tamara Rosentreter, and Juan Gutierrez. 

Lucero Perales’ uncle, who is currently in ICU, had his leg broken and underwent a six-hour-long surgery. One of Lucero’s cousins had a fractured skull and is in a coma, while another suffered bruises “all over her body.”

Pictured: The Perales Family | Credits: GoFundMe

Tamara Rosentreter, a member of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, is recovering after suffering “multiple injuries.”

Pictured: Tamara Rosentreter(left) | Credits: GoFundMe

Juan Gutierrez, a dad, suffered a broken leg and torn ligaments when the car ran him over. If he doesn’t get surgery asap, he might never walk again.

Pictured: Juan Gutierrez(right) | Credits: GoFundMe

While ramming through the parade, Brooks killed five people aged 52 to 81. 

Three of the people killed were Virginia ‘Ginny’ Sorenson, 79, Leana ‘Lee’ Owen, 71, and Tamara Durand, 52, all members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies. The fourth victim was Wilhelm Hospel, 81, the husband of one of the Grannies.

Pictured: Tamara Durand (left) and Leana ‘Lee’ Owen (right). | Credits: Tamara Carlson Family | Facebook
Pictured: Virginia Sorenson (left) and Wilhelm Hospel (right). | Credits: Facebook

The fifth fatality was identified as Citizen Bank employee Jane Kulich, 52, who was the newest member of the dancing group. Her husband, Dave, told The Daily Beast:

“She was super energetic, she was that type of person who when she walks in the room, everybody notices her smile. She literally danced her way through life. She was the youngest one in the Dancing Grannies. Dancing was her favorite thing. It was her first time even with them, which is what’s so tragic, too.”

Pictured: Jane Kulich | Credits: Facebook

Meanwhile, Wilhelm Hospel’s brother, Theodore, told the New York Post:

“He was not on any major medication. He was a strong person and even would help me out a lot of times because he was so strong. I cannot believe it. It’s so tragic.”

Darrell Brooks was taken into custody, receiving five murder charges. 

Pictured: Darrell Brooks | Credits: mugshots.com

The Waukesha Police Department said Brooks was fleeing a domestic dispute, ruling out terrorism as a motive.

The 39-year-old has a criminal history dating to 1999, with more than 15 arrests in the state of Wisconsin alone. Some of his charges were possession of drugs, strangulation and suffocation, battery, illegally possessing firearms as a convicted felon, and resisting arrest.

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