An accelerating car driven by a young man screeched across a footpath and straight into a crowd enjoying one of California’s most popular boardwalks, killing one person and injuring 11.
The victim died at a hospital a few hours after the Saturday night crash at the Venice Beach boardwalk, Los Angeles police lieutenant Andy Neiman said.
Security video shows the man parking his black car alongside the seaside boardwalk as the sun sank, surveying the idyllic scene for several minutes before getting back into the car and speeding into the crowd. It shows hundreds of people walking lazily or sitting at cafes before the black car suddenly appears and sends them scrambling wildly.
Witnesses reported a horrifying aftermath.
“There was people kind of stumbling around, blood dripping down their legs looking confused not knowing what had happened, people screaming,” said 35-year-old Louisa Hodge, who was out enjoying the day on the Venice Beach boardwalk with a friend visiting from San Diego.
“It was blocks and blocks of people just strewn across the footpath.”
Firefighters combed the chaotic crowd, finding 12 people wounded and taking 10 of them to the hospital where one later died, fire and police officials said.
Another victim was in critical condition, two more were in serious condition, and the remaining eight had minor injuries, city fire spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
The driver fled the scene and about an hour later, just as police were circulating word that they were seeking a black Dodge with a driver in his 20s, a man walked into a police station in neighbouring Santa Monica, told officers he was involved in the boardwalk incident, Neiman said.
Police then found a car nearby that they believe belonged to the man, Neiman said.
Detectives were questioning the man, calling him a person of interest and attempting to determine whether he was the driver, Neiman said.
Neiman would give no details on the identity of the person who died or the person of interest.
According to the security video and witness accounts, the man with a baseball cap, grey shirt and white pants parked next to the Cadillac Hotel, twice walking out to the boardwalk before getting into the Dodge Avenger and accelerating, swerving around yellow poles meant to prevent cars from getting into the pedestrian-only area and onto the boardwalk.