Teen nearly killed in Waukesha Christmas Parade, walking and playing baseball again

A Waukesha teenager who was struck in the Christmas parade is working to get back to the baseball field after suffering serious injuries. 21, 2021, Erick Tiegs, 16, was one of many victims hit in the parade. While playing trombone with the Waukesha South High School Marching Band, Erick was struck from behind when a driver in an SUV drove through the parade. “I remember noises. Like after getting hit, getting a scraping noise, like when I was under the car getting pushed on the concrete,” Erick said. “I remember someone grabbing my head and tilting me up and I remember seeing the sky, then asking them if I was OK.”Six people died and more than 60 others were injured in the attack. Of the marching band members struck, Erick suffered the worst physical injuries: broken ribs, a broken leg, crushed shoulder and a C4 spinal fracture to name some. Erick’s younger brother, Tyson, was also marching with the band at the time of the attack. Tyson wasn’t hit, but suffered extreme emotional trauma watching his friends and his brother get hit. Tyson told WISN 12 in December he remembered his hands shaking as he texted their mom while talking to Erick on the ground. “I was saying, ‘It’s OK, I’m here for you,’ trying to keep his emotions up,” Tyson said. It turns out, nothing was going to keep Erick down. Within a week and a half of getting hit, Erick was released from Children’s Wisconsin and welcomed home by family and a team of firefighters. Erick’s father, a Caledonia firefighter, said he’s been taking his son to physical therapy appointments every step of the way. “I notice I’m more worried about when he goes off and does stuff. You always have that little bug in your ear, ‘Is everything going to be OK? Could something happen?’ I’ve never had that before,” said Don Tiegs, Erick’s father. “What would you want to see happen to the driver,” WISN 12’s Caroline Reinwald asked. “He should never see the light of day again,” Tiegs said. “He could have easily stopped at any time. People make mistakes, but you don’t make a mistake driving that far.”Darrell Brooks Jr., if convicted, will spend the rest of his life in prison. Brooks faces 77 charges. On Friday, Brooks pleaded not guilty to all of them. Brooks’ attorney said an impartial trial could not be held in Waukesha County and a jury should be brought in from somewhere else. A judge has not yet ruled yet. Prosecutors said the day Brooks drove through the parade, he was out on bail for running over the mother of his child in the same SUV, just over two weeks before the attack. Parade witnesses told police Brooks never made any attempt to stop, much less slow down, during the attack.Tiegs said his family is thankful for what they have now, more than ever. “A lot of talk. A lot more family time. Planning more vacations together, spending more time together. Realize in an instance, you don’t expect you could lose someone, or they may not be there anymore, and we want to enjoy the time we have together,” Tiegs said. Much of that family time has been spent at the Children’s Wisconsin Greenfield clinic, where Erick goes to physical therapy twice a week. In addition to band and being 4.0 student, Erick is an athlete. Before the parade, Erick was a pitcher and outfielder for his school and at Stiks Academy, a competitive team and training facility for baseball and softball players.Erick’s physical therapist, Brian Butler, said they’re working on building back Erick’s range of motion and strength. “He’s a hard worker and that’s what’s the most important thing for him right now,” Butler said. “Anything from step-ups on large and small boxes in different directions. We’re doing this thing called a slide board, where he’s almost like, ice skating. He’s doing lunges, he’s doing leg press machine. Getting confident in that left leg was a big deal and that’s still what we’ve been working on in therapy these days.”When asked what Butler does to keep Erick motivated, Butler said every day they work towards getting Erick back to baseball. “From day one, I asked him what his goal was and he said, ‘Baseball by the end of March.’ I’m like, ‘We’re going to get there,'” Butler said. “So doing more things baseball-related, baseball-focused activities so he has that little carrot in front of him that we want to get to.”Amazingly enough, Erick is healing so well, he’s already getting back in the swing of what he love. Erick goes to Stiks three times a week to practice his swing, throwing, pitching and work with the team as much as he can. “It was a big change. It showed me I could do a lot more than I really think and I could push through hard times,” Erick said. “You just got to get through that one goal and really wanting it. Even if it’s hard, just push through it.”Erick said he wants to be back on the field, fully healed, by the spring season. His physical therapist and surgeon both said they believe he can do it.

A Waukesha teenager who was struck in the Christmas parade is working to get back to the baseball field after suffering serious injuries.

On Nov. 21, 2021, Erick Tiegs, 16, was one of many victims hit in the parade.

While playing trombone with the Waukesha South High School Marching Band, Erick was struck from behind when a driver in an SUV drove through the parade.

“I remember noises. Like after getting hit, getting a scraping noise, like when I was under the car getting pushed on the concrete,” Erick said. “I remember someone grabbing my head and tilting me up and I remember seeing the sky, then asking them if I was OK.”

Six people died and more than 60 others were injured in the attack.

Of the marching band members struck, Erick suffered the worst physical injuries: broken ribs, a broken leg, crushed shoulder and a C4 spinal fracture to name some.

Erick’s younger brother, Tyson, was also marching with the band at the time of the attack.

Tyson wasn’t hit, but suffered extreme emotional trauma watching his friends and his brother get hit.

Tyson told WISN 12 in December he remembered his hands shaking as he texted their mom while talking to Erick on the ground.

“I was saying, ‘It’s OK, I’m here for you,’ trying to keep his emotions up,” Tyson said.

It turns out, nothing was going to keep Erick down.

Within a week and a half of getting hit, Erick was released from Children’s Wisconsin and welcomed home by family and a team of firefighters.

Erick’s father, a Caledonia firefighter, said he’s been taking his son to physical therapy appointments every step of the way.

“I notice I’m more worried about when he goes off and does stuff. You always have that little bug in your ear, ‘Is everything going to be OK? Could something happen?’ I’ve never had that before,” said Don Tiegs, Erick’s father.

“What would you want to see happen to the driver,” WISN 12’s Caroline Reinwald asked.

“He should never see the light of day again,” Tiegs said. “He could have easily stopped at any time. People make mistakes, but you don’t make a mistake driving that far.”

Darrell Brooks Jr., if convicted, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Brooks faces 77 charges. On Friday, Brooks pleaded not guilty to all of them.

Brooks’ attorney said an impartial trial could not be held in Waukesha County and a jury should be brought in from somewhere else. A judge has not yet ruled yet.

Prosecutors said the day Brooks drove through the parade, he was out on bail for running over the mother of his child in the same SUV, just over two weeks before the attack.

Parade witnesses told police Brooks never made any attempt to stop, much less slow down, during the attack.

Tiegs said his family is thankful for what they have now, more than ever.

“A lot of talk. A lot more family time. Planning more vacations together, spending more time together. Realize in an instance, you don’t expect you could lose someone, or they may not be there anymore, and we want to enjoy the time we have together,” Tiegs said.

Much of that family time has been spent at the Children’s Wisconsin Greenfield clinic, where Erick goes to physical therapy twice a week.

In addition to band and being 4.0 student, Erick is an athlete.

Before the parade, Erick was a pitcher and outfielder for his school and at Stiks Academy, a competitive team and training facility for baseball and softball players.

Erick’s physical therapist, Brian Butler, said they’re working on building back Erick’s range of motion and strength.

“He’s a hard worker and that’s what’s the most important thing for him right now,” Butler said. “Anything from step-ups on large and small boxes in different directions. We’re doing this thing called a slide board, where he’s almost like, ice skating. He’s doing lunges, he’s doing leg press machine. Getting confident in that left leg was a big deal and that’s still what we’ve been working on in therapy these days.”

When asked what Butler does to keep Erick motivated, Butler said every day they work towards getting Erick back to baseball.

“From day one, I asked him what his goal was and he said, ‘Baseball by the end of March.’ I’m like, ‘We’re going to get there,'” Butler said. “So doing more things baseball-related, baseball-focused activities so he has that little carrot in front of him that we want to get to.”

Amazingly enough, Erick is healing so well, he’s already getting back in the swing of what he loves.

Erick goes to Stiks three times a week to practice his swing, throwing, pitching and work with the team as much as he can.

“It was a big change. It showed me I could do a lot more than I really think and I could push through hard times,” Erick said. “You just got to get through that one goal and really wanting it. Even if it’s hard, just push through it.”

Erick said he wants to be back on the field, fully healed, by the spring season.

His physical therapist and surgeon both said they believe he can do it.

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