NEW ORLEANS -- The St. Charles Parish man who drove his truck into a crowd at this year's Endymion parade pleaded guilty Thursday to more than a dozen misdemeanor charges stemming from the crash.
At a pre-trial court appearance, 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto admitted to 13 charges of vehicular negligent injuring. He still faces a dozen felony counts of first-degree negligent injury related to 12 victims who suffered the most serious injuries. He also faces a single felony count of hit-and-run driving.
About 30 people were injured when Rizzuto veered into the Endymion revelers lined up along the parade route near Orleans and Carrollton avenues. Twenty-four people were taken to the hospital.
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Police say Rizzuto's blood alcohol level was .232 when he ran into the crowd, nearly three times Louisiana’s legal limit of .08.
Rizzuto’s attorney, Nanak Rai, said his client's guilty plea reflects his client's remorse and willingness to accept responsibility.
“Mr. Rizzuto is taking responsibility for what he feels is his part of this unfortunate incident,” Rai said. “He is very distraught and remorseful about the situation. Any time anyone pleads guilty to something, they are trying to own up to what they did.”
Rizzuto, who was arrested at the scene of the Feb. 25 accident, remains in jail on a bail of $404,000. Since he has been locked up for nearly seven months, he has already served more than the maximum six-month sentence on the misdemeanors.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 27 before Judge Ben Willard. Pre-trial motions also are set for that date.
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