Po­lice say drunk driver caused Mardi Gras crash that hurt 28

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

Au­thor­i­ties on Sun­day iden­ti­fied the man who al­legedly plowed into a crowd en­joy­ing a Mardi Gras pa­rade in New Or­leans while in­tox­i­cated.

The New Or­leans Po­lice De­part­ment is­sued a state­ment iden­ti­fy­ing the man as 25-yearold Neil­son Riz­zuto. On­line jail records showed Riz­zuto was ar­rested on a num­ber of charges and was be­ing held at the city’s jail.

The ac­ci­dent hap­pened Sat­ur­day dur­ing one of the busiest nights of Mardi Gras when thou­sands of peo­ple throng the streets of Mid-City to watch the elab­o­rate floats and clam­our to catch beads and trin­kets tossed from riders.

“We sus­pect that that sub­ject was highly in­tox­i­cated,’’ Po­lice Chief Michael Har­ri­son had said on Sat­ur­day evening.

Har­ri­son was asked by the me­dia if ter­ror­ism was sus­pected. While he didn’t say “No,’’ he did say it looks like a case of DWI.

Twenty-one peo­ple were hos­pi­tal­ized af­ter the crash with five vic­tims taken to the trauma cen­tre in guarded con­di­tion. How­ever, their con­di­tions did not seem to be lifethreat­en­ing, said Dr. Jeff Elder, city emer­gency ser­vices di­rec­tor.

Seven oth­ers de­clined to be hos­pi­tal­ized, he said.

The vic­tims range in age from as young as 3 or 4 to adults in their 30s and 40s, Elder said.

Among the in­jured was one New Or­leans po­lice of­fi­cer. Har­ri­son said the of­fi­cer, who was on duty, was un­der­go­ing tests to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of her in­juries. She was in “good spir­its,’’ he said.

As po­lice and city of­fi­cials as­sessed the ac­ci­dent scene, peo­ple streamed home as plas­tic bags that used to hold trin­kets and dis­carded beads lit­tered the ground.

Sat­ur­day night’s pa­rade was put on by the Krewe of Endymion, which is known for its long, elab­o­rate floats and the big party it hosts at the Su­per­dome af­ter the pa­rade.

One woman at the scene told The New Or­leans Ad­vo­cate that a sil­ver truck whisked closely by her as she was walk­ing through the in­ter­sec­tion.

AP PHOTO

Po­lice re­spond to a scene where a pickup truck plowed into a crowd watch­ing the Krewe of Endymion pa­rade and in­jured mul­ti­ple peo­ple in the Mid-City sec­tion of New Or­leans, Sat­ur­day.

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