Cops Say Mardi Gras Driver Blew .232; Legal Limit Is .08

Neilson Rizzuto injured more than 20 people in crowd
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 27, 2017 3:03 AM CST
Cops: Mardi Gras Driver 3 Times the Legal Limit
Neilson Rizutto is seen in an undated photo provided by the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.   (Uncredited)

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, say police. The New Orleans Police Department identified 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, reports the AP. Rizzuto's father told WWL-TV that he was still trying to understand what happened and that his son is a "good kid." John Rizzuto told the station that he spoke with his son multiple times Sunday morning and that his son said "a stranger gave him a drink off the street and that's the last thing he remembered."

The accident happened Saturday during one of the busiest nights of Mardi Gras when thousands of people throng the streets. Police said Sunday that 28 people were hurt in the accident that sent 21 people to the hospital, at least three of whom remained hospitalized overnight with moderate to serious injuries. Police say a breath-alcohol test determined that Rizzuto's alcohol level was .232, per the Advocate, nearly three times the legal limit. He was being held on $125,000 bond given the number of people injured in the crash. (More DUI stories.)

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