New Orleans: Pickup truck injures 28 after ploughing into Mardi Gras

Police said incident at parade was linked to drunken driving

An ambulance backs up as New Orleans police work at the scene where a vehicle ploughed into a crowd. Photograph: Chris Granger/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP

An ambulance backs up as New Orleans police work at the scene where a vehicle ploughed into a crowd. Photograph: Chris Granger/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP

 

A pickup truck ploughed into a crowd of spectators at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, US on Saturday evening, injuring 28 people in an episode the police said was linked to drunken driving.

The driver was taken into custody, said Beau Tidwell, a spokesman for the New Orleans Police Department. “This was a tragedy that came from someone making bad decisions with alcohol and vehicles.”

A police officer and a 3-year-old child were among those hurt, the police said, and seven of the injured declined to be taken to a hospital. Five people were being treated at trauma centres, the police added, and seven hospitals had received injured spectators.

The injuries were not life-threatening, Mayor Mitch Landrieu wrote on Twitter, adding, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

The episode occurred at about 6.45pm at the intersection of Orleans and North Carrollton avenues, at the Krewe of Endymion parade, part of the city’s Mardi Gras celebrations.

The police said the pickup struck two vehicles, causing one of them to hit a third. The driver of the pickup lost control, drove over a median and struck a city dump truck and several pedestrians.

Spectators realised something was amiss when they heard the truck’s tires “peeling out,” Trey Klechak, 20, a student at Louisiana State University, said on Saturday night. Mr Klechak said it appeared the driver was trying to weave around some people and then pressed on the accelerator.

He added that he went to help after the truck stopped and did not see anyone pinned underneath. “It was scary to watch,” he said.

Another witness, Patrick Greenfield (31) of New Orleans, said the vehicle appeared to speed up as it approached the intersection. “I’ve never seen anything like this at a parade,” he said.

New York Times