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Venice boardwalk: Victims scattered over a quarter mile

August 04, 2013|By Ari Bloomekatz
  • Police and fire officials respond at the scene in which a car drove through a crowd along the Venice boardwalk Saturday.
Police and fire officials respond at the scene in which a car drove through… (Alex Thompson / Associated…)

Some first responders to the deadly hit-and-run crash on the Venice boardwalk Saturday described a chaotic scene with victims scattered over a quarter-mile.

Firefighter Chipper Cervantes of Los Angeles Fire Department Station 63 said he was at least a mile away when his crew got the call.

“It was auto versus pedestrian that initially came out. Then it came out as a physical rescue,” Cervantes said in a telephone interview Sunday. “We were there within probably three minutes.”

PHOTOS: Pedestrians hit on Venice boardwalk

When he arrived, Cervantes said there were “people everywhere, civilians waving to us where to go, where to drive to … a lot of patients on the ground … scattered over a quarter-mile area.”

One person was killed and 11 others injured. Cervantes and others at his station praised lifeguards and civilians for their role in the rescue.

“Each patient that was laid out, there was at least two to three civilians on each one, whether it was people giving just moral support or … holding their neck, keeping them still,” Cervantes said.

Daniel Regidor, who was running nearby when the crash occurred, said Saturday that he was impressed by how quickly paramedics and emergency personnel responded.

“A pretty fast response,” Regidor said. “I was kind of blown away.”

On Sunday, police announced the arrest of Nathan Campbell, 38, who was booked on suspicion of murder in connection with the Venice crash. Campbell, who turned himself into police after the crash Saturday night, is being held on $1-million bail.

Police investigators are still trying to determine a motive behind the deadly crash. Witnesses told police that it looked as if the driver was deliberately trying to hit people.

The deceased victim was identified Sunday morning as Alice Gruppioni, 32, who was on her honeymoon from Bologna, Italy, police and fire officials said.

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Twitter: @aribloomekatz | Facebook

ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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