1 dead, 35 injured after vehicle plows into counter-protesters at white nationalist rally

- A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in a Virginia college town, killing one person and sending at least 35 others to hospitals.

Police identified 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer of Charlottesville as the woman who was killed.

University of Virginia Medical Center spokeswoman Angela Taylor confirmed the death to The Associated Press. 

The mayor of Charlottesville said via Twitter on Saturday that he is "heartbroken" to announce that a "life has been lost." He did not provide details.

Witnesses say a car plowed into a crowd of people who were protesting the rally, which was held by white nationalists who oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee by the city of Charlottesville.

An Associated Press reporter saw at least one person on the ground receiving medical treatment immediately after the car careened into the line of several hundred people. The driver was arrested.

Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, said counter-protesters were marching when "suddenly there was just this tire screeching sound." A silver sedan smashed into another car, then backed up, plowing through "a sea of people." 

People scattered, running for safety in different directions, he said. 

Video of the incident shows a silver Dodge Charger crashing into a car where protesters were marching and then rapidly reversing away. 
 
Authorities say the 20-year-old Ohio man accused of driving a car into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally has been charged with second-degree murder and other counts. 
 
The Charlottesville Police Department said in a statement Saturday night that James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio also faces three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene.
 
Col. Martin Kumer, superintendent of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, said Fields was in custody there Saturday night. Kumer says he doesn't believe Fields has obtained an attorney yet.
 
He says a bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.

A woman who identified herself as the mother of the man accused of driving his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters says he told her he was going to the rally.
 
Samantha Bloom, of Ohio, confirmed details about her son's car and his trip to Virginia, saying she received a text from him last week that said he'd gotten some time off from work and was going to a rally.
 
She said her son hadn't given her any details about the rally but that she told him "to be careful" and to peaceful.
 
 Bloom became visibly upset as she learned that dozens of people were injured during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
 
Bloom said she and Fields had just relocated to the Toledo area from Florence, Kentucky, a Cincinnati, Ohio, suburb
 
The chaos boiled over at what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade: the governor declared a state of emergency, police dressed in riot gear ordered people out and helicopters circled overhead. 

MORE: White nationalist rally in Charlottesville prompts Virginia governor to declare state of emergency

Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays. At least eight were injured and one arrested in connection to the earlier violence.

Virginia State Police have made three arrests related to the planned rally at Emancipation Park and the continued unrest following the declaration of an unlawful assembly.

Troy Dunigan, 21, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
Jacob L. Smith, 21, of Louisa, Virginia, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault & battery.
James M. O'Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed handgun.
 

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

More from FOX 26 Houston