(ABC News) The driver of a car that plowed into a crowd of demonstrators in the midst of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday was arrested after the crash left a 32-year-old woman dead and 19 others injured, police said.
The suspect being held in a Virginia jail in connection with a deadly crash near a scheduled rally of white nationalists has been identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, according to Superintendent Martin Kumer with the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail.
Fields is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.
The speeding car slammed into a throng of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, where a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups had been scheduled take place, the city tweeted on its verified account.
Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said a man was in custody and the subject of a homicide investigation, but he did not name the suspect.
White nationalist and other attendees clashed with those who arrived to oppose the demonstration, which began with a torch-wielding group marching through the city Friday evening and was intended to culminate in an event entitled “Unite the Right,” set to begin at noon on Saturday.
However, the event was shut down by authorities in the early afternoon. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in the city and police ordered the crowds to disperse.
Video taken in the afternoon after the demonstration was shut down shows crowds walking along a downtown Charlottesville street as several cars move slowly along the same avenue. Abruptly, a gray Dodge Challenger rams into the back of another vehicle, slamming one or more cars ahead of it amid the crowd of protesters. The driver then rapidly reverses away from the scene.
It was not immediately clear whether the male driver of the vehicle acted intentionally, but Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said at a Saturday evening press conference that charges were pending and the situation was being treated “as a criminal homicide.”
After McAuliffe and Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones each made reference to “three fatalities” during the press conference, the Charlottesville city government’s Twitter account confirmed the additional deaths referred to two in a helicopter accident southwest of Charlottesville Saturday.
The University of Virginia Health System confirmed that 20 patients were brought to UVA Medical Center and that 19 were being “assessed and treated” in addition to the single death. Five of the 19 individuals were listed as being in critical condition as of 7 p.m. Saturday.
Thomas identified the victim only as a 32-year-old woman, and saying her name would not be released until her next of kin were notified.
President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences to the family of the woman Saturday evening, adding his “best regards to all of those injured.”
People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017.
Charlottesville has become a flashpoint for white nationalists following a City Council vote in February to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park formerly called Lee Park.
The park was renamed Emancipation Park in June.
Trump addressed the situation during remarks Saturday afternoon. He did not specifically address that a death had occurred amid the demonstrations, but denounced the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”