Truck Slams into Crowd at Mardi Gras Parade Injuring 28
A truck drove into a Mardi Grad parade crowd in New Orleans on Saturday night, injuring 28 people. Police Chief Michael Harrison said the suspect hit two other cars on the intersection of Orleans and Carrollton Avenues where the Krewe of Endymion parade was underway.
The driver was apprehended and was identified as 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto. Police say he was extremely intoxicated when the car collided with the crowd, his blood-alcohol level was .232 percent, three times the legal limit.
Rizzuto has been charged with two counts of first-degree vehicular negligence resulting in injury, and one count each of reckless operation and hit-and-run driving. He may face more charges, rumors circulating Monday morning said there could be up to 19 more charges.
A total of 21 people were hospitalized, including one female police officer. None of the injuries are life-threatening.
Terrorists have used vehicles as weapons of mass destruction, but Chief Harrison said there is no indication that the incident was an act of terrorism.
Security and police in New Orleans had been beefing up security in the French Quarter and on Bourbon Street before the celebrations of Mardi Gras. There had been talks of closing down certain streets to vehicles after a certain time of night in order to secure the streets more, but it has not been disclosed if the intersection of Orleans and Carrollton Avenues was protected by barriers at the time of the crash.
The city of New Orleans had deployed extra officers to the parade route before the time of the crash as part of a comprehensive security plan for Mardi Gras. They also worked with local businesses to create a network of surveillance cameras to record footage on some of the most popular streets in the city.