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Police ID man suspected of plowing vehicle into crowd in New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS — Police have identified the man suspected of plowing into a crowd of Mardi Gras revelers in New Orleans while drunk.

Neilson Rizzuto, 25, was “highly intoxicated” at the time, Police Chief Michael Harrison said on Saturday evening. Rizzuto is in police custody. No charges have been filed yet.

City Emergency Services Director, Dr. Jeff Elder said 21 people were hospitalized after the crash with five in guarded condition. The youngest person injured was 3 years old. Seven others were injured and treated at the scene.

One police officer was struck by the vehicle. She was taken to the hospital and her injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, Harrison said.

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

The pickup truck went into the crowd of people at the intersection of Carrollton and Orleans in Mid-City about 6:45 p.m., New Orleans Police Department said.

The truck was traveling in the opposite direction of the parade route, Chief Harrison said. He struck two vehicles before careening into a crowd and hitting a dumpster truck.