Nathan Louis Campbell, the man suspected of driving his car down the busy Venice boardwalk, failed a field sobriety test when he turned himself into police, two hours after the deadly crash, LAPD says. However, it is still unclear if Campbell was drinking before the incident. Hetty Chang reports from Venice for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2013.
The driver who allegedly plowed his car onto the popular Venice Beach boardwalk failed a field sobriety test when he surrendered to authorities two hours after the crash, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
No other details were immediately available about Nathan Campbell’s state during the Aug. 3 crash. NBC4 Los Angeles was not able to confirm whether the 38-year-old was drinking before the incident, which killed a newlywed and injured 16 other people.
Days before the crash, Campbell was seen around the Malibu Community Labor Exchange on Pacific Coast Highway. He was described as a hard worker by the director of the center, Oscar Mondragon.
"He came to us, looking for us about a year ago, and like anybody else we helped him to find work," Mondragon said. "He was a very good worker; no complaints about him."
Campbell recently returned to the job center after being away for several months.
"All he said was, 'I'm back. I have a car, ready to work' – that kind of thing," Mondragon said. "He wasn't angry with anybody. He wasn't fighting with anybody."
But Shawn Baird, who knows Campbell, told a different story, which could give clues into what may have caused Campbell to allegedly drive his 2008 Dodge Avenger onto the popular Venice Beach boardwalk.
"He was drinking," Baird said of Campbell a few days before the crash. "He had a bottle of cheap vodka."
Baird also described an unusual request.
"He said, 'You gotta get your bags out of my trunk because there's a guy really bothering me and I'm going to hit him with a brick and put him in my trunk, '" Baird said.
The request concerned Baird, but he doesn't believe Campbell set out to target anyone on the boardwalk.
"I saw him on his birthday. I wish I saw him the next day because maybe I could have talked some sense into him," Baird said.
Campbell is being held on $1.48 million bail. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and 33 other felony charges. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 4.
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