28 injured as truck ploughs into Mardi Gras parade

Police arrested a man on suspicion of drink-driving

28 injured as truck ploughs into Mardi Gras parade

Police stand next to a pickup truck that slammed into a crowd and other vehicles | Image: PA images

Updated 22:10

28 people were injured after a pickup truck ploughed into crowds at a Mardi Gras parade.

The incident happened shortly before 7pm Saturday evening, local time. Police have arrested a man on suspicion of drink-driving.

Neilson Rizzuto, 25-years-old has been charged with two counts of first-degree vehicular negligence resulting in injury, and one count each of reckless operation and hit-and-run driving.

He may face more charges, according to police.

Mr Rizzuto had a blood-alcohol level of .232%, police said on Sunday evening - almost three times over the legal limit.

Emergency services say some of those hurt could be as young as three. It is not being treated as a terrorist incident. 

At an official press conference, Police Chief Michael Harrison said 21 people had been hospitalized after the crash with five victims said to be in a serious condition. Seven of those injured declined to go to the hospital.

Harrison said at the conference "We send a strong message about not drinking and driving, and about making smart decisions."

Kourtney McKinnis told the New Orleans Advocate that the driver seemed almost unaware of what he had done in the aftermath of the crash "He was just kind of out of it," the 20-year-old said.

According to the Police Chief the age of the victims ranged from approximately three to four year old children who are in a stable condition in hospital to people in their 30s or 40s.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu told reporters that it was very hard to protect against somebody who was very intoxicated ploughing through a crowd but he said barriers had now been put in place.