Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ohio man faces charges in fatal Charlottesville vehicle attack

USA Press Today NetworkJessie Balmert and Bob Strickley, The Cincinnati Enquirer
Published 11:08 p.m. ET Aug. 12, 2017 | Updated 11:08 p.m. ET Aug. 12, 2017

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Graphic video: A bystander captures the moment a car slams into a crowd at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
USA Press Today

CINCINNATI — An Ohio man is being held on charges related to the car crash that left one dead and 19 injured in Charlottesville, Va., in the wake of of a white supremacist rally, authorities say.

James Fields Jr., 20, is being held at the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death. A jail official confirmed Fields was being held there Saturday evening.

Authorities says a 32-year-old woman died and 19 others were injured in the incident.

The vehicle that struck the crowd of counter-protesters at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was purchased from a Greater Cincinnati car dealership and last registered in Ohio, online records show.

A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them. (Photo: The Daily Progress via AP)

The Ohio license plate number seen in photographs taken by TheDaily Progress of Charlottesville tracks to a vehicle identification number of a 2010 Dodge Challenger last registered in Maumee, Ohio. Documents show Fields has a residence in Maumee.

A Carfax report shows the vehicle was purchased by its latest owner in June 2015 from Kerry Toyota in Florence, Ky. The title for the vehicle was updated the next month in Maumee.

The vehicle was not listed as stolen by the National insurance Crime Bureau as of Saturday afternoon. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles also lists the vehicle as registered out of Lucas County, where Maumee is located.

More: 1 dead, 19 injured as car hits crowd after a ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville; driver in custody

More: Car rams Charlottesville crowd after protests: What we know now

Online records do not show any previous criminal history for Fields. He was cited for expired or unlawful license plates by Maumee police in May 2017, according to local court records.

Videos of the incident show the Challenger barreling into pedestrians at high speed and slamming into the back of a second vehicle. With the car’s front badly damaged and its mangled bumper sticking out one side, the driver backs up a high speed for several blocks, then turns left and speeds off, chased by police.

Photos and video posted on social media showed several people receiving treatment on the ground.

Angela Taylor, a public information officer at the University of Virginia Medical Center, told USA Press Today that 20 patients were taken there and that one had died. The conditions of the other 19 were not yet determined.

A vehicle reverses after driving into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them. (Photo: Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

“I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here,” Charlottesville Mayor Mike Singer said, without elaborating.

Charlottesville officials said two people were treated for serious injuries after fights broke out earlier in the leadup to the rally that city officials declared an “unlawful assembly.”

The violence prompted Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency and played out against a backdrop of unofficial, armed militia groups ringing Emancipation Park, where the rally was called to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Contributing: Gabe Cavallaro, The (Staunton, Va.) News Leader; Doug Stanglin reported and Sarah Toy, USA Press Today

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