Family members of victims in the August crash that killed one person and injured more than a dozen others on the Venice Boardwalk testified in court Tuesday during a preliminary hearing for the man accused of driving his car into a crowd of people.
Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, is charged with murder in the death of a woman who was on her honeymoon. He also is accused of injuring more than a dozen others.
Campbell pleaded not guilty to the charges in August.
“I can't begin to describe how this is. It's a nightmare,” Katia Gruppioni said when asked to describe sitting in the same courtroom as the man accused of killing her niece, Alice Gruppioni. "We are looking for justice on Alice's behalf. The world lost a beautiful person on Aug. 3, 2013."
It was on that day that prosecutors allege Campbell drove his car onto the crowded Venice boardwalk, plowing into pedestrians, injuring 16 people and killing Italian tourist Alice Gruppioni, who was on her honeymoon.
"I saw a woman lying face down, her arms to the side, she wasn't moving,” said witness Katriya Marshall, who was visiting Venice from England when she was struck by the car.
On Tuesday, she testified at Campbell's preliminary hearing that she believed the driver intentionally veered in her direction as she ran to get out of the way.
"I thought someone lost control of the car, but when I saw it come towards us, I realized it wasn't an accident," she said.
Other witnesses described a similar scene.
"I heard a noise, sounded like metal on concrete, heard screams, saw the crowd part and the Dodge coming straight at us," recalled witness Shane Nelson.
The testimony is difficult for Gruppioni to hear, but she says she's determined to be here for her family.
“We need to know we will have justice,” she said. “There is nothing bringing her back, but there is something we want and that is justice.”
Testimony in the case continues on Wednesday. After that, the judge will determine if Campbell will face a trial.
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