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Truck Slams Into Mardi Gras Parade Crowd In New Orleans, Injuring Dozens

Police said the driver was "highly intoxicated."

26/02/2017 3:21 PM AEDT | Updated 27/02/2017 6:45 AM AEDT
Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

A pickup truck with a suspected drunken driver at the wheel slammed into a crowd watching a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans on Saturday night, sending at least 28 people to hospitals, according to The Advocate.

At least five people were critically hurt in the crash, which happened when the pickup, headed against the direction of the Krewe of Endymion parade, hit two other vehicles, plowed into the crowd and smashed into a garbage truck at 6:42 p.m.

Police have arrested Neilson Rizzuto, 25, and charged him with two charges of vehicular negligence injuring in the first degree, hit-and-run driving and the reckless operation of a motor vehicle, Reuters reports. 

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison called the crash a “horrific scene,” The Advocate reported. The driver was “highly intoxicated,” Harrison told WDSU 6 News. Authorities said the crash didn’t appear intentional, according to CBS News.

A police officer and child were among those hurt. The victims were as young as 3, with the oldest in their 40s. EMS Director Jeffrey Elder told The Advocate that none of the victims appeared to have life-threatening injuries.

Greg McNeely told the Times-Picayune he was watching the parade when he saw a pickup truck speed through an intersection. Several people were pinned between the truck and a garbage bin, or beneath the truck, the newspaper reported.

“I saw him coming and I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s going to be a catastrophe,’” Dana Welch told The Advocate. “He sped up and he just went flying, hit those cars.”

The crash occurred less than five hours after a man was shot at the Krewe of Tucks parade in New Orleans, according to the Times-Picayune.

“Obviously you don’t want to have a day like this,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told the newspaper. “We train year round to respond to events that can’t be stopped because of bad decisions.”

Landrieu later tweeted that he was “grateful that no one suffered any life threatening injuries.”

This article has been updated to note that the driver has been arrested. 

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