Suspect charged after 28 injured at Mardi Gras parade

A 25-year-old man is charged after plowing a pick-up truck into a crowd of Mardi Gras spectators, injuring at least 28 people in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS (REUTERS) - A 25-year-old man was charged on Sunday (Feb 26) after plowing a pick-up truck into a crowd of Mardi Gras spectators the night before, injuring at least 28.

Suspect Neilson Rizzuto appearing in a 'highly intoxicated' state, say authorities.

"What we know right now is that we have one subject in custody, who was driving a pickup truck, who apparently on the opposite side of the parade that was active was travelling in the opposite direction of the parade. Struck two vehicles, then veered off to the other side, struck a dump truck and then came to rest on neutral ground. In the process before coming to rest, struck a number of pedestrians. We suspect that subject was highly intoxicated," said Mr Michael Harrison, New Orleans police superintendent.

Video footage from the scene showing the pandemonium that ensued. Twenty-one people were taken to local hospitals, including one police officer. Seven others declined treatment.

"It's really hard to protect against somebody who is intoxicated and runs through a crowd. Innocent people were hurt here today. Families watching the parade. We have somebody who was intoxicated that ran and hurt. It's hard to protect except having a response like we had here today, where our officers were on the scene within seconds, if not minutes," said Mr Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans.

The FBI in New Orleans said its agents were coordinating with federal, state and local officials to determine whether a federal violation has occurred.