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5 years of punishment for the driver who plowed through the crowd, parade

NEW ORLEANS – A man is in jail after drunkenly plowing his pickup truck into a crowd of New Orleans parade-goers last year faces three years behind bars.

Twenty-six-year-old Neilson Rizzuto was Friday convicted for the accident that injured more than 30 people along the route of the popular Endymion parade during last year’s Mardi Gras season.

State district court judge Ben Willard sentenced Rizzuto to five years, but one year suspended, and gave credit for about 11 months already served.

Rizzuto pleaded guilty on 11 felony and 14 misdemeanor counts in October during a hearing marked by emotional testimony of the victims injured in the Feb. 25 crash.

New Orleans news media report that Willard also ordered Rizzuto to attend Alcoholics Anonymous and Mothers Against Drunk Driving meetings and the writing of apologies to the victims.

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