NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The man who allegedly plowed into a crowd enjoying a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit, police said Sunday.
The New Orleans Police Department issued a statement identifying the man as 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto. He’s being held at the city’s jail on charges of first-degree negligent vehicular injuring, hit-and-run driving causing serious injury and reckless operation of a vehicle.
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 clamor to catch beads and trinkets tossed from riders.
Police said Sunday that 28 people were hurt in the accident that sent 21 people to the hospital; an additional seven people at the scene declined medical help. At least three victims remained hospitalized overnight with moderate to serious injuries, police said Sunday. There were no fatalities.
Ages of the victims ranged from 1 year old to patients in their 50s, police said Sunday, updating initial figures from Saturday night that put the age range of the victims from a youngest of 3-4 years old to adults in their 30s and 40s.
Police say a breath alcohol test determined that Rizzuto’s alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit.
“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.
Rizzuto is being held on $125,000 bond in a New Orleans jail.