(VENICE BEACH, Calif.) — As police seek to explain why a 38-year-old transient allegedly plowed a car into a crowded Los Angeles-area boardwalk this weekend, details have emerged on the lone fatality, an Italian tourist who was on her honeymoon.
Alice Gruppioni died in the incident, which was caught on surveillance footage, that also left 11 people injured.
Gruppioni, 32, was married for two weeks, detectives said, and was honeymooning with her husband, Christian. She died Saturday at a local hospital.
The couple had been touring the U.S. Southwest, and her husband posted photos of their trip to Facebook. Describing their last moments in Venice Beach, Calif., he said, “We were happy holding hands. Then, everything changed.”
Eyewitness Richard Ruiz said Christian, who was also injured, didn’t leave Gruppioni’s side as she lay dying on the boardwalk.
“It was just really sad to see because that guy was just sitting down to her left, just talking to her at first,” Ruiz said. “Right when I got there, she was speaking little. But after that, the next thing you know she just stopped talking.”
Gruppioni worked as a manager for a family business that makes radiators. Her father, Valerio Gruppioni, runs the company. He was formerly president of the Bologna soccer team, according to ABC News station KABC-TV.
Police say Nathan Campbell hit the accelerator of a Dodge Avenger and plowed into a group of pedestrians on the Venice Beach boardwalk at around 6 p.m. Saturday. One witness said that the car was traveling at 60 mph. Campbell allegedly ditched the car a few miles away, before turning himself in two hours later.
Police are holding Campbell, who KABC reports is a transient, on $1 million bail, and are investigating whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the incident.
“He will be tested and the charge was murder,” Lt. Robert Long of the Los Angeles Police Dept. said.
It’s unclear whether Campbell has a lawyer.
Of the 11 injured, one person was reported in critical condition, two were said to be in serious condition and eight others reported minor injuries, according to KABC. Officials say five of those injured have been released from area hospitals, and emergency officials said all patients were pedestrians along the boardwalk.
Witnesses said that when Campbell allegedly drove onto the boardwalk, he “was looking for blood.”
“He had to have pressed his foot to the gas, pedal to the metal, because his tires started screeching,” witness Landon Blackburn said. “I saw him, and he was looking for blood. That guy, his intention was to kill people.”
Elizabeth Adams also told KABC that Campbell sped up intentionally.
“The boardwalk was packed with people and he sped up and purposely — it looked like purposely — was just swerving back and forth to run over as many people as he could,” Adams said.
Los Angeles city councilman Mike Bonin said that although the crash was reportedly malicious, drivers do mistakenly drive onto the Venice Beach boardwalk several times a day. Bonin said that he believes more barriers should be installed to prevent non-emergency vehicles from entering the boardwalk.
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