Car plows into crowd following Virginia white nationalist rally, driver in custody

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Car plows into crowd following Virginia white nationalist rally, driver in custody

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A car plowed into a crowd of demonstrators following a foiled white nationalist rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a 32-year-old woman and leaving 19 others injured, police and officials said.

In the wake of the horrific incident, which sent pedestrians flying, the driver of the car was taken into custody. His name was not immediately released.

"It was absolutely the most horrible thing I've ever witnessed," said Brittany Caine-Conley, the lead organizer with Congregate Charlottesville. "We ran to the scene and one of my friends actually tried to hold the wounds together for the woman who has passed away."

White nationalist and other attendees clashed with those who arrived to oppose the demonstration, which began with a torch-wielding group marching through the city Friday evening and was intended to culminate in an event entitled "Unite the Right," set to begin at noon on Saturday.

But the rally itself was foiled when authorities told the crowd to disperse before it started.

However, the event was shut down by authorities early Saturday afternoon. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in the city and police ordered the crowds to disperse.

Dramatic video taken after the demonstration was shut down shows crowds walking along a downtown Charlottesville street as several cars move slowly along the same avenue. Abruptly, a gray Dodge Challenger rams into the back of another vehicle, slamming one or more cars ahead of it amid the crowd of protesters. The driver then rapidly reverses away from the scene.

It was not immediately clear whether the driver of the vehicle acted intentionally, but Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said at a Saturday evening press conference that charges were pending and the situation was being treated "as a criminal homicide."

The University of Virginia Health System confirmed that 20 patients were brought to UVA Medical Center and that 19 were being "assessed and treated" in addition to the woman who died. Five of the 19 individuals were listed as being in critical condition as of 7 p.m. Saturday.

Thomas identified the victim only as a 32-year-old woman, and saying her name would not be released until her next of kin were notified.

President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences to the family of the woman Saturday evening, adding his "best regards to all of those injured."

People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017.more +

Charlottesville has become a flashpoint for white nationalists following a City Council vote in February to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park formerly called Lee Park.

The park was renamed Emancipation Park in June.

Trump addressed the situation during remarks Saturday afternoon. He did not specifically address that a death had occurred amid the demonstrations, but denounced the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."


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