Witnesses describe chaos, panic as car plows into Charlottesville crowd

Videos and interviews from the scene of Saturday’s violent car crash into Charlottesville protesters painted a chaotic picture of the moments after the incident.

Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, said several hundred counter-protesters were marching when “suddenly there was just this tire screeching sound.” A silver sedan smashed into another car, then backed up, barreling through “a sea of people.”

Brennan Gilmore, a former staffer for gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello, filmed the panic at Water and Fourth streets in downtown Charlottesville. His 45-second cellphone video captured the gray Dodge Challenger with Ohio plates racing toward the crowd — hitting it, then reversing away with a damaged windshield and front end.

"He slowed down, targeted the crowd and slammed on the gas. Bodies went flying everywhere," Gilmore told USA TODAY. "We all started running to give first aid, but then he backed up and I thought he might make another run at the crowd."

The video captures screaming and the shocked crowd as at least nine people were injured. Those nearby can be heard shouting “Medic!” as the crowd flees to get clear of the car and eventually chase it down.

Gilmore called the crash “deliberate terrorism” and said he shared the video with police and media.

Staunton News Herald photographer Jeremiah Knupp witnessed the crash from a nearby parking garage as it happened.

“A third car came down and impacted the two other vehicles, hitting some of the protesters,” Knupp said. “I would guess it was going 30 miles per hour.”

A live stream video shot feet from the incident shows the violent crash and bodies thrown from the impact. One person is thrown over the top of a second vehicle. The crowd quickly sought to help the injured while others chased the car that rammed them.

“Oh my god … people are badly hurt, we need paramedics right now,” Jon Ziegler, the man filming the live stream, said on his feed. 

 

Contributing: Associated Press

 

 

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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