Witnesses told ThinkProgress that they saw a grey sedan speed through the streets of downtown Charlottesville, VA, striking two other vehicles before backing up. The incident resulted in the death of one person and injuries to 19.
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer confirmed the casualty via his Twitter account and urged people to get off the streets:
I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will–go home.
— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 12, 2017
Tensions were high in the streets surrounding a park where earlier in the day, police deemed a rally planned by white supremacists and forcibly dispersed attendees.
ThinkProgress reporters Joshua Eaton and Alan Pyke said that according to witnesses, the grey sedan “rammed” into another car and a van before backing up and speeding away.
One volunteer street medic told Eaton that about 15 people were hurt, with injuries ranging from broken legs to head wounds.
Photos and video of police stopping a damaged grey sedan were posted on Twitter shortly thereafter. It is thought the car was involved in the incident that some said injured over a dozen, although officials have yet to confirm that number. Police confirmed the arrest of the driver to Buzzfeed within the hour.
Said to be the vehicle that plowed through the crowd, abandoned nearby. pic.twitter.com/BPUoxlwZwO
— Waldo Jaquith (@waldojaquith) August 12, 2017
Pyke said that the car and van hit by the first car had stopped at the intersection waiting for the crowd of protesters to pass when the grey sedan struck them with enough force to “drive the purple minivan that was at the front of that line halfway into the intersection.”
Protesters tried to prevent the driver from taking off by blocking the vehicle with their bodies.
Witnesses said that it appeared that the driver intentionally struck a number of people gathered at Water Street East and 4th Street SE, although it remained unclear as of press time whether those injured included any white supremacists or possibly unaffiliated observers.
One witness said that she “heard the engine [of the grey sedan] rev before he put it in reverse,” and that “there were people flying through the air and objects flying through the air.”
Eaton described “chaos” on the scene with counterprotesters using sheets and other clothing to block the public’s view of the injured as they were tended to by emergency medical services.
“There are helicopters and drones overhead,” said Eaton, who said that witnesses were holding each other and crying.
Pyke said there were national guard and state police on the scene, but there was no official comment yet on the number of injured or whether the driver of the grey sedan had been found.