Story Summary

Deadly Venice Boardwalk Hit-and-Run

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( Maarten Smitskamp / August 3, 2013 )

A man was arrested on suspicion of murder after a hit-and-run on the Venice boardwalk that left one woman dead and 11 other people injured.

The suspect was identified as Nathan Campbell, 38, a Colorado native who sources said had possibly been living in his car.

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The man accused in a hit-and-run on the Venice boardwalk that left a 32-year-old Italian woman dead and 17 others injured was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on murder and other charges.

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Nathan Campbell appears in court on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (Credit: KTLA)

Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, has been charged with one count of murder in the death of Alice Gruppioni. She was honeymooning with her husband when she was fatally struck by a vehicle that Campbell was allegedly driving.

Campbell has also been charged with 17 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 10 counts of hit-and-run in connection with the Aug. 3 incident.

In his ruling Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Antonio Barreto Jr. found that there was sufficient evidence for Campbell to be brought to trial on the charges, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.

Campbell was scheduled to be arraigned Jan 22. on the updated charges, according to the DA’s office. He pleaded not guilty to charges at an earlier arraignment.

If convicted, Campbell could face life in prison.

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — The man accused in a deadly hit-and-run on the boardwalk in Venice pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges on Tuesday.

Nathan Campbell, 38, was charged with murder, 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run.

Campbell’s bail was set at $1.48 million. His next court date was scheduled for Sept. 4.

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Nathan Campbell appears in court. (Aug. 6, 2013)

If convicted, he could face a sentence of life in prison.

Campbell is accused of using his 2008 Dodge Avenger to plow into the crowd on the Venice boardwalk on Saturday evening.

One woman was killed and 11 other people were injured.

Campbell abandoned the car on a nearby street and turned himself in at a Santa Monica police station about an hour later.

He has a long history of homelessness, petty crime and substance abuse, according to authorities.

Twenty years ago, Campbell spent several months at the Covenant House in Hollywood, which provides housing for homeless young people.

He subsequently moved to Georgia, Florida and Colorado, where he was charged with crimes including trespassing, shoplifting and reckless driving.

Then, three months ago, he moved back to Los Angeles with his Dodge Avenger, which he bought near Denver, authorities said.

Campbell’s lawyer said on Tuesday that he did not believe that his client intentionally tried to hit anybody.

“He is quite distraught. He is very saddened that an individual has lost their life,” public defender Phillip Dube said. “He does not believe that he is a homicidal person.”

The woman who was killed in the crash was identified as Alice Gruppioni, 32, an Italian tourist who was on her honeymoon.

Gruppioni died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck, coroner’s officials said on Monday. Her death was listed as a homicide.

Gruppioni’s husband, Christian Casadei, suffered cuts and bruises. He was treated and left the hospital on Saturday night, according to the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles.

The pair married on July 20 and were supposed to board a flight to Tahiti on Monday to continue their vacation.

Instead, on Monday night, relatives of Gruppioni attended a vigil on the boardwalk in Venice.

Her father placed 32 yellow roses on a memorial for his daughter, symbolizing the 32 years of her life.

Her aunt, Katia Gruppioni, said it was hard to comprehend that her niece was gone.

“Completely surreal… I just saw her. It feels like she’s pretending,” she said. “She’s so beautiful. She just is sleeping, you just wait for her to open the eyes.”

Casadei told Italian media that the newlyweds were “happy on our honeymoon, and suddenly everything changed.”

“I still can’t believe it and I can’t even remember how the chain of events unfolded,” he said.

VENICE, Calif. (KTLA) — A man remained behind bars on Monday and was expected to be charged with murder after a deadly hit-and-run on the Venice boardwalk.

venice-scene-suspectThe suspect was identified as Nathan Campbell, 38, a Colorado native who sources said had possibly been living in his car.

Campbell was arrested on suspicion of murder and was being held on $1 million bail.

He could make his first court appearance as early as Tuesday.

The incident happened around 6 p.m. on Saturday with hundreds of people around, including families and children.

Campbell allegedly went on a path of terror with his car, crashing into carts, a dozen people and anything else in his way along a quarter-mile stretch of the boardwalk.

One woman was killed and 11 others were injured.

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Alice Gruppioni, 32, was killed in the crash.

The deceased victim was identified as Alice Gruppioni, 32, an Italian tourist who was on her honeymoon, authorities said.

She was the daughter of a businessman who was the former executive of Bologna F.C., an Italian Football League club.

Gruppioni died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck, coroner’s officials said Monday.

Gruppioni’s husband, Christian Casadei, suffered only cuts and bruises.

He was treated and left the hospital on Saturday night, according to the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles.

The pair married on July 20 and were supposed to board a flight to Tahiti on Monday to continue their vacation.

Casadei said he saw the car coming toward them and thought it was part of a movie shoot, consulate officials said.

Gruppioni’s aunt, sister and father-in-law arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday night, officials said.

“Alice was a remarkable young lady making her personal dreams come true,” her aunt, Katia Gruppioni, said in a statement on Monday.

She described her niece as a “concrete and business oriented person,” but also a romantic.

“…[S]he never ceased to be the romantic and dreaming girl fantasizing about her bridal gown and her meeting Prince Charming, which she actually did,” Gruppioni said.

“She was robbed of her life while living her dream visit to California with her husband and this was a tremendous injustice.”

Meantime, what may have set off Campbell remained a mystery.

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(Maarten Smitskamp / August 3, 2013)

Surveillance video showed Campbell calmly getting into his car around 6 p.m. on Saturday, just prior to the rampage.

Some witnesses said that Campbell intentionally swerved his vehicle into innocent bystanders.

“We hear screaming and yelling and look down and there’s hundreds of people just diving out of the way,” vendor Naqo Habibi said.

“The next thing we know, I see a blue car coming through with a girl latched onto the hood,” he said.

“He’s like swerving back and forth and the girl rolls off the side, and he’s like heading straight for us. We dive over my booth,” Habibi recalled.

“It was unreal. It looked like bowling, like bowling pins,” witness Sean Peterson said.

After allegedly hitting the first group of people, Campbell didn’t slow down, according to witnesses.

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Nathan Louis Campbell from 2008
(Bay County, Florida)

Several witnesses said he actually sped up his car, traveling even faster down the boardwalk.

They estimated that his driving speed was around 30 mph.

About an hour after the incident, Campbell abandoned his blue Dodge sedan on a nearby street and walked into a Santa Monica police station to surrender.

Campbell asked how many people had been injured, according to police.

“If this was an intentional act, that certainly raises the stakes quite a bit,” said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman.

“It’s horrendous no matter what the intent was, but the fact that this individual left the scene of these accidents and did not render aid at minimum is felony hit-and-run.”

Public records showed that Campbell had a history of arrests in Denver and in Florida, including a 2008 reckless driving arrest involving alcohol in Panama City Beach, according to the L.A. Times.

VENICE, Calif. (KTLA) — A man was arrested and booked in downtown Los Angeles, in connection with a deadly hit-and-run on the Venice boardwalk, the LAPD said Sunday during a news conference carried live on KTLA.

The man, identified as Nathan Campbell, was being held on $1 million dollars bail, according to LAPD Lt. Robert Long.

Campbell, 38,  would soon be charged with murder, Long said.

One woman was killed in the incident and 11 others injured when the driver of a dark-colored sedan struck several pedestrians near the boardwalk on Saturday evening at about 6 p.m., authorities said.

The woman who died was on her honeymoon, according to the LAPD.

Campbell walked into a Santa Monica police station about an hour after the hit-and-run and told police he was “connected” to the incident, authorities said.

VENICE, Calif. (KTLA) -  The one person killed in a deadly hit-and-run on the Venice boardwalk was a woman on her honeymoon, authorities said Sunday.

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Alice Gruppioni and her husband, Christian Casadei, on their wedding day. (via Facebook)

The deceased victim was identified as Alice Gruppioni, 32, from Bologna, Italy, the Los Angeles Times reported.

She and 11 others were struck when the driver of a dark-colored sedan hit several pedestrians near the boardwalk, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

“It was unreal. It looked like bowling pins,” a man who witnessed the incident told KTLA. “It was outrageous.”

Witnesses said the driver was “moving purposefully” at about 20 mph, when he drove through the tourist haven at about 6 p.m. near the intersection of Dudley Avenue and Ocean Front Walk.

An hour after the incident, a man police described as “a person of interest” walked into a Santa Monica police station shortly after 7 p.m. and turned himself in.

On Sunday morning the LAPD identified the man as Nathan Campbell and said he had been arrested in connection with the hit-and-run.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centered released a statement Sunday afternoon saying it had received five patients from the Venice boardwalk incident, ranging in age from 19 and 75.

The patients, three women and two men, were all treated at released.

VENICE, Calif. (KTLA) — One person has died after being struck by a vehicle in a Venice hit-and-run that left 11 other pedestrians injured, authorities said.

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A tweeted image shows Los Angeles firefighters treating victims at the scene of an accident involving a vehicle along the Venice Beach boardwalk.
(Credit: @madism40 / via Twitter)

The incident occurred about 6 p.m. near the intersection of Dudley Avenue and Ocean Front Walk, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Initial reports indicated that two of the victims were critically injured and two others were in serious condition.

One of the victims died at a hospital Saturday evening, according to Lt. Andrew Neiman of the Los Angeles Police Department.

A man was detained in Santa Monica Saturday evening in connection with the incident, Neiman said.

Witnesses said the driver of the dark-colored sedan was “moving purposefully” at about 20 mph when the vehicle struck several pedestrians and tables near the boardwalk, according to LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey.

“It was unreal. It looked like bowling pins,” a man who witnessed the incident told KTLA. “It was outrageous.”

“If this was an intentional act that certainly raises the stakes quite a bit,” Neiman said. “It’s horrendous no matter what the intent was, but the fact that this individual left the scene of these accidents and did not render aid — as required by law — at minimum is a felony hit-and-run.”

Ocean Front Walk was expected to remain closed Sunday as Los Angeles police continued their investigation.

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