Unbelievably, a drone captured the moment when a car plowed into a group of demonstrators Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. The video was posted online by NBC News. It is graphic, so consider this your content warning.
As of this writing, there are three dead (one from this car crash and two from a helicopter crash that officials say is somehow related) and five people in critical condition.
UPDATE 8-13-17 1:10 a.m. PACIFIC: This appears not to be Fields’s car, as the post originally and erroneously claimed, but instead a car that was struck by Fields’s car — or perhaps the third car in a three-vehicle collision. While the video clearly depicts the area of Water and 4th where the incident happened, commenters below note that the vehicle depicted here plowing into demonstrators at that intersection appears to be a maroon SUV, while the video we saw earlier in the day depicted a grey Dodge Charger racing down the street and then speeding in reverse. (H/t joliphant.) Folks seemed to assume from the initial video that the Charger was the car at fault, and that assumption still seems valid. Commenters theorize that the Charger rammed another vehicle which then pushed the SUV into the crowd as depicted here. That makes a certain amount of sense. Two other data points: 1) poking around Google Street maps reveals that the original, ground level video was taken from almost a full block north, at 4th and Main, looking SSW towards 4th and Water, and 2) the Charger is nowhere to be seen in this video.
Odd. Things will likely become clearer later today. In the meantime, I have altered the headline and the lede sentence of the post, to remove what I now believe to be an erroneous claim that this was Fields’s vehicle.
UPDATE x2: The New York Times confirms the scenario posited by the commenters. One minor tweak: it’s a Challenger, not a Charger.
Mr. Fields was driving a Dodge Challenger “at a high rate of speed” in downtown Charlottesville at about 1:45 p.m., a spokeswoman for the city said in a statement. He drove the car into a sedan, which hit a minivan that was in front of it.
The impact of the crash pushed the sedan and the minivan into a crowd of pedestrians. Mr. Fields fled the scene in the Challenger but was stopped a short time later by the Charlottesville police.
• Deia Schlosberg and Conrad Shaw, documentary filmmakers who were in Charlottesville to shoot footage of one of the counterprotesters, were nearby when the car barreled down the street. They said that it hit a number of people before crashing into the other vehicles.
“It seemed like it was trying to drive through the crowd,” Ms. Schlosberg said. “The other cars were enveloped in the crowd. I bet those cars saved a ton more lives because it couldn’t keep going.”
That could very well be.