Newlywed Killed in Venice Boardwalk Crash "Robbed of Her Life"

The family of Alice Gruppioni arrived in Los Angeles Sunday to comfort her husband of two weeks

By Jonathan Lloyd, Toni Guinyard and Hetty Chang
|  Tuesday, Aug 6, 2013  |  Updated 4:20 AM EDT
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The husband and other relatives of a newlywed Italian woman killed in a crash on the Venice boardwalk visited a funeral home and visited her memorial, placed where she was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver. Kim Baldonado reports from Venice for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013.

Kim Baldonado

The husband and other relatives of a newlywed Italian woman killed in a crash on the Venice boardwalk visited a funeral home and visited her memorial, placed where she was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver. Kim Baldonado reports from Venice for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013.

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Vigil Held for Victim of Venice Boardwalk Crash

Dozens came to Venice Beach Monday, to pay their respects to 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni who was hit by a car when a driver crashed into the Venice Boardwalk. People came to hold a moment of silence for Alice and the 16 others who were injured in the crash. Kate Larsen reports from Venice for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on August 5, 2013.

Family of Newlywed Awaits Autopsy

The family of a newlywed killed when a driver crashed through a crowd on the Venice Beach Boardwalk arrived in Southern California Sunday night as mourners continued to leave items at the site of Saturday's crash that injured 11 others. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday Aug. 5, 2013.
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The family of a newlywed killed when a driver crashed through a crowd on the Venice Beach Boardwalk arrived in Southern California Sunday night as mourners continued to leave items at the site of Saturday's crash that injured 16 others.

An autopsy conducted Monday on the body of Alice Gruppioni, indicates that the 32-year-old died from blunt force trauma to the head and neck, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office. The case was ruled a homicide.

Meanwhile, a fundraiser was planned in honor of Gruppioni and other victims.

"There's no words to describe our situation, our love," her husband, Christian Casadei, told NBC reporters in a tearful interview at the funeral home.

"I'm very sad because now Alice is not here with us," said her sister, Nike Gruppioni, as she broke down. "She's not here."

On Saturday, Alice Gruppioni was visiting the boardwalk -- a beachside destination that her aunt described as a dream destination -- on a honeymoon with Casadei two weeks after their wedding. They both were struck by a man driving a Dodge Avenger that police said was intentionally driven into the crowd.

"She was robbed of her life while living her dream visit to California with her husband," Katia Gruppioni, her aunt, told NBC4 in a text message. "This was a tremendous injustice. Alice was a remarkable young lady making her personal dreams come true."

Gruppioni is the daughter of Valerio Gruppioni, a businessman and former president of the Bologna soccer team. He is the president of Sira Group, a producer of heating radiators.

"Born in a very traditional Italian family, she became part of the family's business when she was only 19," Katia Gruppioni told NBC4.

Flowers, candles, a picture of Gruppioni and her husband were among the items left at a boardwalk memorial.The Candle Cafe and Grill is conducting a fundraiser Monday for the victims. The restaurant, one of several cafes lining the boardwalk, scheduled a vigil Monday evening for the victims.

Gruppioni's groom, Christian Casadei, suffered minor injuries in the 6 p.m. Saturday crash.

All 16 crash victims have been released from the hospital Monday afternoon.

Linda Alvarez, 75, a longtime tarot card and palm reader in Venice, was among those injured and released Sunday.

"She has bad bruises all over her head, her side, she has broken ribs," said Chelsea Alvarez, the victim's granddaughter. "She's pretty banged up. She had a concussion."

Despite that, Alvarez returned to work Monday. She had this to say about the man allegedly responsible for killing one and injuring 16 others:

"She wants to see him live life in prison," Chelsea Alvarez said of her grandmother.

Police arrested Nathan Campbell, 38, in connection with the hit-and-run crash on one of Southern California's most famous tourist locations -- home to galleries, restaurants, tattoo shops, skateboard parks and the famous outdoor weight room known as Muscle Beach. Surveillance video from nearby businesses captured the Avenger striking pedestrians as others ran for cover.

The driver left the scene and about an hour later, as police announced they were seeking the vehicle, a man walked into a police station in neighboring Santa Monica and told officers he was involved in the boardwalk incident, according to Los Angeles police. 

CLARIFICATION: A Los Angeles Police Department official on Monday told NBC4 that 16 people were hurt and one person was killed -- making 17 total victims, two of which refused treatment -- in the Venice boardwalk crash. Los Angeles police updated the department's earlier report that there were 12 victims total.

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