Judge may decide on murder trial for Venice boardwalk crash suspect

A judge could decide Wednesday whether a man accused of using his car to kill an Italian honeymooner and injure 16 people on the Venice Boardwalk in August will stand trial for murder and other charges.

Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, turned himself in to Santa Monica police an hour after the Aug. 3 incident. He's charged with 17 counts of hit-and-run, 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of murder in the death of Alice Gruppioni, 32.

Witness testimony bolstered surveillance video footage that shows Campbell’s 2008 Dodge Avenger ramming past a barrier post onto the beachfront pedestrian walkway before striking people as it careened for at least half a mile.

One witness, John Drolette, 58, of Fresno, testified that he saw the crashes from the Cadillac Hotel fire escape.

“He didn’t stop,” Drolette testified. “In fact, he revved up, and you could hear the vehicle’s transmission go into overdrive.”

When people parted to the sides, the car “went left-right, left-right — zigging — hitting people who had moved out of the way,” Drolette said.

Public defender Philip Dube has argued that the situation was an accident. He's said that Campbell, who has a history of alcohol abuse, had recently purchased the vehicle and clearly intended to keep it in good condition.


LAPD in mourning after 3 officers killed in 2 months

Donald Sterling will fight to keep Clippers, Garcetti predicts

Red Cross assisting homeless residents displaced after shelter fire


Twitter: @peard33

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Pedestrians hit on Venice boardwalk
    Pedestrians hit on Venice boardwalk

    A Colorado man was charged with murder and other crimes for allegedly driving his car into pedestrians on the Venice boardwalk Aug. 3, 2013. Nathan Louis Campbell faces a murder charge, 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run.  

  • Witness recalls 'manic grin' on Venice boardwalk crash suspect
    Witness recalls 'manic grin' on Venice boardwalk crash suspect

    Witnesses and the first victim struck by a car that plowed through the Venice Beach boardwalk in August testified Tuesday they could not believe the Dodge Avenger continued after striking a vendor’s tent.