Tue, Aug 06, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Man arrested after Venice boardwalk hit-and-run

AP, LOS ANGELES

Police arrested a man on suspicion of murder after a driver plowed into crowds at a popular Los Angeles boardwalk, a seemingly intentional hit-and-run that killed an Italian woman on her honeymoon and injured 11 others.

Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, was arrested after he walked into a police station in neighboring Santa Monica about two hours after the incident and told police that he was involved.

Campbell, of Los Angeles, remained jailed on Sunday on US$1 million bail.

Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese declined to discuss a motive, but said there was no indication that the attack was a terrorist act or that anyone else was involved.

Security video taken at Venice Beach boardwalk showed a man parking a black car, stepping out and surveying the leisurely scene for several minutes before getting back into the vehicle and speeding into the crowd. Hundreds of people who had been walking or sitting at cafes raced to get out of the way before the vehicle sped away.

The Italian woman was identified as Alice Gruppioni, 32. Her family in Bologna told the Italian news agency LaPresse that she had been on her honeymoon after a July 20 wedding.

Gruppioni worked as a manager for the family business Sira Group, which makes radiators. Her father, Valerio Gruppioni, runs the company and was formerly president of the Bologna soccer team, according to LaPresse.

The family declined to speak to reporters on Sunday.

Authorities said another person was critically injured. Two others were in serious condition and eight suffered less serious injuries.

Witnesses reported a horrifying scene.

People were “stumbling around, blood dripping down their legs, looking confused not knowing what had happened, people screaming,” said Louisa Hodge, who described “blocks and blocks of people just strewn across the sidewalk.”

It was not immediately clear how fast the car in Saturday’s crash was going.

According to security video and witness accounts, the driver parked next to the Cadillac Hotel and twice walked out to the boardwalk before getting into the Dodge Avenger and accelerating, swerving around yellow poles meant to prevent cars from getting into the pedestrian-only area and onto the boardwalk.

“I heard a big ‘boom, boom,’ like the sound of someone going up and down the curb, it was super loud,” said Alex Hagan, 22, who was working the desk at the Cadillac Hotel and watched the scene unfold from the start.

The driver knocked over two mannequins and then started hitting people, swerving from side to side and often running straight into them.

Video showed the car hitting at least three vendors who were sitting at their sales booths.

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