Witnesses have described the terrifying moment a car accelerated towards and plowed into a crowd of people protesting at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville Saturday, killing one.
Screams rang out as the Dodge Charger careened into anti-fascist demonstrators, throwing bodies into the air and splattering blood on the windshield, before reversing at high speed.
Witness Nic McCarthy told C-VILLE Weekly: ‘There was someone in a dark vehicle that sped, very quickly, down this road and rammed into the crowd.
‘People… He backed up and he went back in again.’
Terror in Charlottesville: This is the moment the vehicle smashed into anti-fascist demonstrators Saturday
McCarthy added: ‘There was a girl that was caught and she was trying to get up and it ran over her again. I hope the cops catch these terrorists.’
It is believed a counter protester had thrown a rock at the vehicle, causing the driver to swivel around and ram into people and cars in its way, before driving off with someone’s shoe attached to its bumper.
The horrifying scenes in Virginia came after violent clashes erupted between white nationalists and activists.
Accelerating: Terrified protesters tried to flee the path of the vehicle as it sped towards them
Collision: The Dodge Charger hit another vehicle, bringing it to a stop in the middle of the street
Injuries: At least 20 people were hit by the vehicle as it careened into the crowds
Upsetting video footage of the vehicle ramming into the crowd, described by some as a terror attack, was uploaded online moments after the fatal collision.
People can be heard crying and shouting in the aftermath of the smash, and local police estimate at least 20 people were hit and three vehicles were involved.
There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them and police said the crash happened near the intersection of Fourth and Water streets.
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.’
Fleeing: The vehicle then reversed at high speeds, and witnesses say it ran back over pedestrians
Backing up: One witness said:’ There was a girl that was caught and she was trying to get up and it ran over her again’
People scattered, running for safety in different directions, he said.
Another witness, Dan Miller, claimed the act was intentional. He said: ‘About 40 miles an hour, hit about 15-20 people, crashed into the two cars in front of it, and then backed up and sped away while cops were standing on the side of the road and didn’t do anything.’
Laura Shae told CBS 6 reporter Brendan King: ‘We were driving down and there was a crowd of people just running with terror on their face.’
She said the car drove into the crowd then reversed over people.
Treated: A woman is tended to by medics after the car smashed into pedestrians and another vehicle
In addition to the dozen of people hurt in the accident, at least eight people were being treated already for their injures during other destructive clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters at Emancipation Park before the controversial Unite the Right rally.
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Singer announced the death on Twitter. He wrote: ‘I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will – go home.’