Waukesha resident Jesus Ochoa, his wife, Belen Santamaria, and their three-year-old daughter witnessed on Sunday the moment a speeding SUV plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Ochoa and his family were supposed to take part in the parade with their Catholic Church, but in the morning Santamaria changed her mind because of a sudden back pain that ended up saving her and her family’s life.

“We were in the list of participants of the parade. But, my wife didn’t feel well enough to walk so we decided to watch it from the side. Yeah, you can only be surprised that it could have been us involved too,” Ochoa told Reuters.

Describing the moment the SUV ran over 20 people, Ochoa and his wife recalled people screaming and running terrified to the sides of the street, while the parade kept on going as many had not realised what was happening a few meters back.

“The SUV came by at full speed,” said Santamaria. “Then I started to hear people screaming.”

She hid in a restaurant with their daughter while her husband ran ahead to try to help injured people. He said he heard through other members of their church that roughly 10 members of the congregation, mostly Latinos and both adults and children, are injured.

Authorities said they had taken 11 adults and 12 children to six area hospitals, with more transported to hospitals by family and friends.