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College student hit by alleged drunk driver at Mardi Gras parade gives his first hand account

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)-  Max Mattione is one of the victims in the crash during the Endymion parade Saturday night.

Mattione is a freshman and baseball player at Spring Hill College, and he spoke to WGNO about what happened.

Mattione was watching Endymion with his buddies from Spring Hill College, when he said out of nowhere the truck came plowing through, clipping him and his friends.

"The truck came barreling through, clipping me and running over my friends," Mattione said.

NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said 21 people have been taken to University Medical Center and nine other hospitals. The ages of the victims range from 1- years old to 50-years old.  There were 28 victims reported on the scene, but 7 of them declined EMS on scene.  At least 3 people remained hospitalized overnight with moderate to serious injuries.  There were no fatalities.

Thousands of revelers and families were at or near the intersection of North Carrollton and Orleans avenues in Mid-City Saturday night when a suspected drunk driver, 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto, crashed his pickup truck into the crowd. He was arrested Sunday on two counts of first-degree negligent vehicular injuring, hit-and-run driving causing serious injury and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

The New Orleans Police Department said the driver was administered a Standard Field Sobriety test, which he failed.  A breath alcohol test determined the suspect's alcohol level was .232%---nearly three times the legal limit.  The investigation is ongoing.