Five people are dead and more than 40 injured after a vehicle drove through the barricades and ploughed into a Christmas parade of marching bands and dancing children in a suburb of the US city of Milwaukee.

One video showed a woman screaming, “Oh my God!” repeatedly as a group of young dancers was hit on Sunday.

A father described going “from one crumpled body to the other” in search of his daughter. Members of a “Dancing Grannies” club were among those hit.

The town of Waukesha posted on its social media accounts late Sunday that it could confirm at least five died and more than 40 were injured, although information was still being collected.

A “person of interest” was in custody, Waukesha police chief Dan Thompson said, but he gave no details or any possible motive.

Christmas Parade
Toppled chairs on the street (Jeffrey Phelps/AP)

“What took place in Waukesha today is sickening, and I have every confidence that those responsible will be brought to justice,” attorney general Josh Kaul, the state’s top law enforcement officer, tweeted.

The horror was recorded by the city’s livestream and onlookers’ mobile phones.

One video shows the moment the four-wheel drive vehicle broke through the barricades and the sound of what appears to be several gunshots.

Mr Thompson said a Waukesha police officer fired his gun to try to stop the vehicle. No bystanders were injured by the gunfire, and Mr Thompson said he did not know if the driver was hit by the officer’s bullets.

Another video shows a young child dancing in the street as the vehicle speeds by, just a few feet from her, before it hurtles into the parade a few hundred feet ahead.

One video, of dancers with pompoms, ends with a group of people tending to a girl on the ground.

“There were pompoms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter,” Corey Montiho said.

Christmas Parade
Police tape cordons the street (Jeffrey Phelps/AP)

“My wife and two daughters were almost hit. Please pray for everybody. Please pray.”

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on its Facebook page that “members of the group and volunteers were impacted and we are waiting for word on their conditions”.

The group’s profile describes them as a “group of grannies that meet once a week to practise routines for summer and winter parades”.

Chris Germain, co-owner of the Aspire Dance Centre studio, had about 70 people in the parade ranging from the ages of two to 18.

Mr Germain, whose three-year-old daughter was in the parade, said he saw a maroon vehicle that “just blazed right past us”.

Christmas Parade
Police investigate at the scene of the crash (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel/AP)

“There were small children lying all over the road, there were police officers and emergency medical technicians doing CPR on multiple members of the parade,” he said.

Angelito Tenorio said he was watching the parade with his family when they saw the vehicle come speeding into the area.

“Then we heard a loud bang,” Mr Tenorio said.

“And after that, we just heard deafening cries and screams from the crowd, from the people at the parade.

“And people started rushing, running away with tears in their eyes, crying.”

The Waukesha school district cancelled classes on Monday and said in a notice on its website that extra counsellors would be available for students and staff. The parade’s list of entries included cheer, dance and band entries associated with district schools.

State governor Tony Evers said he and his wife were “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act”.

US president Joe Biden was briefed on Sunday night, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Twitter. Assistance was being offered to local officials, she said, and “our hearts are with the families and the entire community”.

The parade is held each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. This year’s, the 59th, had the theme of comfort and joy.

Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, about 55 miles north of Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on Friday of charges stemming from the shooting of three men during unrest in that city in August 2020.