Crime

Man who plowed into large crowd at Endymion parade sentenced by judge

Neilson Rizzuto
Neilson Rizzuto

The 26-year-old man who sped his pick-up truck through a crowd of pedestrians at the Endymion parade last year was sentenced to four years in prison on Friday, The Advocate reports.

Neilson Rizzuto, who pleaded guilty in October to injuring 25 spectators at the Feb. 25 parade, appeared before Criminal District Court Judge Benedict Willard.

He was sentenced to five years for the felonies, and six months for the misdemeanors in connection with the crash. The sentences run concurrently, with one year credited for time served.

Several victims of the crash were in the audience as the sentence was given.

Rizzuto had a blood alcohol content of .232, nearly three times the legal limit, when he sent his truck sailing through the crowd.

Miraculously, no one died. However, a series of victims who spoke at the October hearing made it clear that the physical and psychological scars from the crash still linger.

More victims took the stand Friday to give testimony on the crash’s impact.

Rizzuto was tackled to the ground just after the incident and taken into custody by police on the scene. He has been in jail since his arrest at the parade.

Rizzuto’s decision to plead guilty did not come as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Instead his decision appears to have been to throw himself at the mercy of Willard.

The judge had the option to sentence Rizzuto to up to five years in prison for the most serious charge to which he pleaded, first-degree vehicular negligent injuring. Willard could theoretically stack Rizzuto’s sentences to give him a longer prison term, although that would be a deviation from standard practice, which is to run prison terms under the same indictment at the same time.

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