The Rundown: What we know about the Wisconsin parade crash

Police tape cordons off a street in Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade hitting multiple people Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. Jeffrey Phelps / AP Photo
Police tape cordons off a street in Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade hitting multiple people Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. Jeffrey Phelps / AP Photo

The Rundown: What we know about the Wisconsin parade crash

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Good afternoon! It’s Monday, and WBEZ has a new mobile app that will be very handy for folks traveling this week. I’ve got it downloaded and ready to go for my drive to Ohio to see my in-laws. Here’s what else you need to know today.

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1. Man intentionally drove through a Wisconsin Christmas parade, police say

Authorities in Waukesha, Wis., say Darrell Brooks Jr. faces five counts of intentional homicide after he drove a red SUV through a Christmas parade on Sunday. Police Chief Dan Thompson said there is no evidence the crash was a terrorist attack.

At least five people were killed and more than 40 others were injured when the SUV sped through barricades and barreled through a parade. Members of the “Dancing Grannies” club, which was performing in the parade, were among those killed, the group announced on its Facebook page. [AP]

NPR reports 11 adults and 12 children were taken to six hospitals in the area. Children’s Wisconsin, a health care system operating two hospitals in the state, said it took in 15 patients as of 8 p.m. Sunday “with no reported fatalities at our hospital at that time.” [NPR]

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Brooks “has been charged three times in less than two years with recklessly endangering the safety of others, most recently on Nov. 5 as part of a domestic abuse incident for which he was also charged with resisting or obstructing an officer.”

The Milwaukee County district attorney’s office said today Brooks had been released from custody during an ongoing domestic violence case after prosecutors recommended an “inappropriately low” bail. [MJS]

2. Former Chicago watchdog criticizes Lightfoot’s response to the lifeguard sex abuse investigation

Joe Ferguson — whose final term as the city’s inspector general ended last month after 12 years on the job — recently told WBEZ that Mayor Lori Lightfoot acted far too slowly in response to the scandal at the Chicago Park District.

“This mayor is not shy about critique, criticism and dispensing harsh judgments of all sorts of people who work in city government, and in this instance, with sex crimes involved, she had little to nothing to say,” said Ferguson, who has clashed with Lightfoot on a variety of issues before and since his last day in office on Oct. 15.

Ferguson said he received information about the lifeguard abuse scandal a few months before he left his job and shared it with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who has opened an investigation into allegations of sex crimes and corruption at the park district.

“That’s what should’ve happened here about a year and a half ago, and that’s what didn’t happen here until August,” he said. [WBEZ]

3. How will Illinois spend $18 billion from the federal infrastructure bill?

President Joe Biden’s newly enacted infrastructure package contains nearly $18 billion for Illinois, and the state could get a crack at billions of dollars more for new roads, public transit, aging water lines and high-speed internet for poor urban and rural areas.

As WBEZ’s Dave McKinney reports, Gov. JB Pritzker and other Democrats will likely dangle projects across the state during what could be a potentially treacherous 2022 campaign cycle. It could be one of the best things Democrats have going for them.

In Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot’s priorities for the federal funds include replacing hundreds of thousands of toxic lead service lines that bring water to Chicago residents, and an estimated $2.3 billion project to extend the Red Line train so it serves the city’s southern-most neighborhoods. [WBEZ]

4. Chicago Public Schools knew for years about sex abuse claims against staff at a high school, records show

Chicago Public Schools attorneys and leaders long had knowledge of an investigation into sexual misconduct and failure to report it by the principal at Marine Leadership Academy, despite claiming otherwise Friday.

And, in the two years that the investigation went on, the school district not only kept the principal on staff but also promoted her, information obtained by WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times shows.

The school district has fired 10 employees as a result of this investigation. Some of the staff are accused of grooming students or having inappropriate relationships with three separate students. The school district says the others knew about these situations and failed to report them. [WBEZ]

5. Here come the “best of 2021” lists

As the end of the year nears, newsrooms across the country are fast at work at compiling “best of 2021” lists. And here’s one I always check out: The New York Times Book Review’s 100 notable books of the year.

It’s a monster of a list, and I always try to read at least one of the recommended books each year. It’s how I found out about Lydia Millet’s A Children’s Bible and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.

This year, I’ve been meaning to read Klara and the Sun, about a robot who helps a sickly teenage girl. And then there is Three Girls From Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood, a memoir from former Chicago Tribune columnist Dawn Turner. [NYT]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Closing arguments began in the trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia last year. [NPR]
  • Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo “engaged in multiple instances of sexual harassment,” according to an investigation from the state’s legislature. [AP]
  • Target will no longer be open on Thanksgiving Day. [AP]
  • NASA this week will test a planetary defense system against asteroids. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

Not even bookworms are immune from hiccups in the global supply chain.

A sales representative for Abraham Associates, which represents more than 30 small publishers, told Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen that every step of the book-making process has been impacted. There’s a paper shortage, there’s a glue shortage and there’s a printer shortage.

Sandra Law, the sales rep, also says 98% of the books people read in the U.S. are printed in China. So even if a publisher can get a printer and find enough paper and glue, they still need a shipping container.

“It’s a little wild,” Law said. “Shipping containers used to only cost around $2,500. Now some publishers are having to spend upwards of $25,000.” [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and I’d like to know what you’re thankful for this year.

Me? In no particular order, I’m thankful for my husband’s laughter, the health of my nutcase nephews, our strong democracy and … a surprise I’ve got in store for y’all next Monday. Stay tuned.

Feel free to email me at or tweet me at @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week. But a heads up, the newsletter will be taking a brief break on Thursday and Friday.

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