Waukesha Parade attack victim, 11, makes her family laugh despite injuries: ‘Put me back together’


Jessalyn Torres, 11, plowed into suspected young women and other parade-goers in an SUV while dancing with her fellow members of the Waukesha Extreme Dance Team at the city’s Christmas Parade in Wisconsin on Sunday.

“She was directly affected by the vehicle,” Ryan Kohnke, Jessalyn’s uncle and Waukesha resident, told LBL Digital on Tuesday. “Hearing the commotion behind her, she turned around and struck her.”

He was one of several members of the dance team who remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit late Tuesday night after the tragedy.

11-year-old Jessalyn Torres is one of five members of the Waukesha Xtreme Dance Team who remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit late Tuesday night after Sunday’s parade disaster.
(Family of Jesselyn Torres)

Jessalyn suffered several serious injuries, including a fractured hip, a fractured skull, a severed kidney, injuries to her lungs, and lacerations on her liver, but did not stop her loved one from laughing the next day.

“She told them, ‘Paste me back together,'” Kohnke said. “It’s a testament to her lashes, her demeanor, her quickness. She’s a very adventurous kid. It’s great to make fun of her and have that kind of human moment. My sister and I both laughed. We thought it was funny.”

“She said to them,‘ Paste me back together. ’This is a testament to her lashes, her demeanor, her quickness.

– Ryan Kohnke, uncle of Jessalyn Torres

Waukesha Parade suspect Darrell Brooks faces 5 counts of 1st degree intentional murder, held on $ 5 million bail

Jessalyn, who attended the parade with her mother and 2-year-old sister, was injected as doctors waited on Tuesday to stabilize her vital signs.

“She’s still not stable enough to do a lot of work, but her main points and everything has been consistent since she was there on Sunday,” Kohnke said.

Six people were killed and at least 62 people were injured when 39-year-old Darrell Brooks plowed his SUV through a Christmas parade.

Five of the dead victims were identified as Wilhelm Hospel, 81; Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; And Jane Kulich, 52.

Waukesha Christmas Parade Horror: Who are the victims?

Waukesha County District Attorney Susan L. Barnes said the sixth victim, the child, died Tuesday. Oper said at Brooks’ first court appearance.

“We have a passing elderly and we have a group of children in the ICU. There is no more vulnerable group of people this person can attack.”

– Ryan Kohnke, uncle of Jessalyn Torres

Four of the dead adults were associated with the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, which Facebook describes as “a group of grandparents who meet weekly to practice routines for summer and winter parades.”

“We have older people who have passed and we have some kids in the ICU,” Kohnke said Tuesday. “There is no more vulnerable group of people this person can attack.”

First responders and Waukesha residents rushed to provide medical assistance immediately after the Chismmas Parade disaster on Sunday.

First responders and Waukesha residents rushed to provide medical assistance immediately after the Chismmas Parade disaster on Sunday.
(@J_Woynilko)

As the bodily wounds begin to heal, the Waukesha community is plagued by mental agony.

“We are starting to understand the psychological trauma,” Waukesha Xtreme Dance Team said in a statement. “We need time to heal and understand.”

The community of Waukesha, a city of about 70,000 people outside of Milwaukee, has come together in the wake of the disaster.

By the end of Tuesday, about 1,000 people had donated more than $ 37,000 to an online crowdsourcing effort for Torres and his family.

“We are recovering. It’s a tight community,” Kohnke said. “Yes, I think this trauma affects us, but we are coming together as a community and coming back from this.”

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