NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Speaking exclusively to FOX 8, a 20-year-old Spring Hill College student says he's lucky to be alive after being hit by a pick-up truck that plowed through an Endymion parade crowd in Mid-City.
Just minutes after arriving at the Endymion parade route on Carrollton at Orleans, Otto Candies, IV, found himself on the ground.
"I hear a crash and I just turn around and all I see is headlights," Candies, IV, explained. "Next thing I know, I'm underneath the hood of the truck on top of someone."
The Spring Hill College student scrambles to free himself.
"When I was underneath the truck, I heard the engine rev again, it sounded like he was pressing the gas, and the guy I was on top of, I kind of just grabbed him and we helped each other get out from under the truck," Candies, IV, said.
Around him, a scene of chaos as Candies, IV, searched for his friends.
"I just see three of them on the ground, lying on their backs, just screaming in pain," he said.
Some suffered broken bones. Others, bleeding from their heads, needed staples. Candies, IV, didn't initially realize, he too is in pain.
Miraculously, he walked away from the crash with just a sprained ankle, cuts and bruises. The force so strong, it ripped his clothes and knocks off his shoes and the hat on his head.
"I could be dead right now but I'm just thankful no one died," Candies, IV, commented.
Reuniting with his mom, who frantically rushed to the scene, is when the gravity of this situation set in.
"I just gave her the biggest hug I'd ever given her and just started crying, I was happy to see her, you know," he said.
As for the driver, 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto, Candies, IV, said, "I don't know what's going through your head to even put yourself in a situation like that. I mean, we all make mistakes but it's lucky for him he didn't kill anyone."
Candies, IV, believes this horrible accident could serve some good; a clear example of the dangers of drunk driving. He said about 15 Spring Hill students were watching the parade together at the time of the crash. He says about seven were hit.