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Mardi Gras truck crash: Driver had .232 blood-alcohol level, injures 28

By Steve Almasy, Ralph Ellis and Nick Valencia, CNN

The man accused of driving a truck into a Mardi Gras parade crowd, injuring 28 people, had a blood-alcohol level almost three times the legal limit, New Orleans police said Sunday.

Neilson Rizzuto, 25, 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, police said.

Rizzuto had a blood-alcohol level .232%, police said Sunday. Officers used a breathalyzer to determine his blood-alcohol level, New Orleans Police Public Information Officer Ambria Washington said.

Drivers 21 and over with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% can be charged with driving while impaired, according to the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles webpage.
A magistrate judge on Sunday set Rizzuto’s bail at $125,000, CNN affiliate WVUE reported. If Rizzuto posts bail, he will be under house arrest and required to wear an ankle monitor, WVUE reported.

The incident occurred Saturday night near the intersection of Orleans and Carrollton Avenues where the Krewe of Endymion parade was underway.

Police Chief Michael Harrison said the suspect, who was driving a pickup truck that hit two cars before running into the crowd, appeared to be highly intoxicated. Among the injured, the youngest is 3 and the oldest are in their 40s.

170226112219 neilson rizzuto mugsot exlarge 169None of the injuries was life-threatening, officials said.

Here are the latest developments in this story:
• A total of 21 people were hospitalized, including one female police officer. She was in good spirits, the chief said.

• Seven other people who were hurt declined medical transportation.

• Some of the bystanders who helped care for the injured were emergency responders who were tourists in town for Mardi Gras, the chief said.

• Harrison said there is no indication the accident was an act of terrorism.



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