Los Angeles News

Venice Beach boardwalk crash spurs new safety effort

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The deadly crash at the Venice Beach boardwalk on Saturday has spurred an effort to make the boardwalk a safer place.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin said though Saturday's crash was clearly a malicious act, drivers do mistakenly drive onto the boardwalk. He believes more barriers should be installed to prevent non-emergency vehicles from entering the walkway.

"I think this is a case where a tragedy has shown us a vulnerability, and it gives us an opportunity to act and use some common sense," Bonin said. "I don't think that the bollards would do anything to impede the flow of what's supposed to be an oceanfront walk."

The suspect involved in Saturday's crash, identified as Nathan Louis Campbell, went around the barricades at Dudley Avenue and onto the boardwalk.

"We need to make sure that every street that intersects with Venice Beach, that is capable of having it, has barriers that restrict non-emergency access to the beach," said Bonin.

The councilman also said a loudspeaker should be installed to alert people during emergencies.

During another crash 10 years ago, an elderly driver struck a crowd at the Santa Monica Farmers Market and killed 10 people. Barricades were put in after that incident, and Bonin believes that's what needs to happen in the wake of the tragedy at Venice Beach.

Campbell, 38, has been booked in the incident in Venice Beach and is being held on $1 million bail. Officials say they expect more charges will be filed against him.

The collision killed 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni, a woman from Italy who was on her honeymoon. She and her husband reportedly married two weeks ago. Witnesses say her devastated husband couldn't leave her side after she was hit.

"It was just really sad to see because that guy was just sitting down to her left just talking to her at first," said Richard Ruiz. "Right when I got there, she was speaking little. But after that, the next thing you know she just stopped talking."

Gruppioni managed a business in her hometown and her father is the former president of the Bologna soccer team. Christian was also injured.

The crash also left 11 others injured. Officials said Sunday that five of those injured have been released from area hospitals.

Mustafa Balci and his wife were back at work Sunday selling jewelry and other merchandise in their stand on the beach. Both were knocked to the ground and injured when the driver slammed into the booth.

"I don't know what his excuse, what his motive, whatever it is, I don't accept any of them, this is insane," said Balci. "He could have stopped."

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venice beach, lapd, car crash, arrest, los angeles news, amy powell
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