Man charged with killing Italian in LA hit-and-run

Nathan Campbell, 38, has been charged with murder after ploughing his car into a crowd on Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles and killing an Italian woman from Bologna.

Man charged with killing Italian in LA hit-and-run
Nathan Campbell ploughed his car into the packed Venice Beach boardwalk on Saturday. Photo: Wikicommons

Alice Gruppioni, 32, was on her honeymoon when she was hit by the blue Dodge Avenger, which is reported to have been going at up to 90km/h, on Saturday. Eleven others were injured in the rampage.

Campbell, from Colorado, pleaded not guilty during a hearing in Los Angeles on Tuesday and is due back in court on September 4th.

Witnesses said Campbell, who is reported to have a criminal record for reckless driving while under the influence of alcohol, looked as if he was driving “with a purpose”. He later turned himself in at a police station in Santa Monica.

He is reported to have said: “I do not know why I did it. It’s not clear if I was drunk or on drugs,” according to La Stampa.

The body of Alice, who is the daughter of Bologna football club’s former president, Valerio Gruppioni, is being flown back to Italy on Wednesday. Her funeral is taking place in her home town of Pianoro, near Bologna, on Thursday.

Alice was a manager at the family firm, Sira Group, which makes heating radiators.

She married Christian Casadei on July 20th. They arrived in Los Angeles following a trip that took them to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.

“We were walking, we were happy, on honeymoon, and suddenly everything changed. I still can’t believe it and do not remember exactly what happened,” Casadei is reported to have said earlier this week. 

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Italy to pay €57m compensation over Venice cruise ship ban

The Italian government announced on Friday it would pay 57.5 million euros in compensation to cruise companies affected by the decision to ban large ships from Venice's fragile lagoon.

A cruise ship in St Mark's Basin, Venice.
The decision to limit cruise ship access to the Venice lagoon has come at a cost. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The new rules, which took effect in August, followed years of warnings that the giant floating hotels risked causing irreparable damage to the lagoon city, a UNESCO world heritage site.

READ ALSO: Venice bans large cruise ships from centre after Unesco threat of ‘endangered’ status

Some 30 million euros has been allocated for 2021 for shipping companies who incurred costs in “rescheduling routes and refunding passengers who cancelled trips”, the infrastructure ministry said in a statement.

A further 27.5 million euros – five million this year and the rest in 2022 – was allocated for the terminal operator and related companies, it said.

The decision to ban large cruise ships from the centre of Venice in July came just days before a meeting of the UN’s cultural organisation Unesco, which had proposed adding Venice to a list of endangered heritage sites over inaction on cruise ships.

READ ALSO: Is Venice really banning cruise ships from its lagoon?

Under the government’s plan, cruise ships will not be banned from Venice altogether but the biggest vessels will no longer be able to pass through St Mark’s Basin, St Mark’s Canal or the Giudecca Canal. Instead, they’ll be diverted to the industrial port at Marghera.

But critics of the plan point out that Marghera – which is on the mainland, as opposed to the passenger terminal located in the islands – is still within the Venice lagoon.

Some aspects of the plan remain unclear, as infrastructure at Marghera is still being built. Meanwhile, smaller cruise liners are still allowed through St Mark’s and the Giudecca canals.

Cruise ships provide a huge economic boost to Venice, but activists and residents say the ships contribute to problems caused by ‘overtourism’ and cause large waves that undermine the city’s foundations and harm the fragile ecosystem of its lagoon.