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Federal authorities open civil rights case

People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Federal law enforcement authorities have started a civil rights investigation into a deadly car crash in Charlottesville that left one protestor dead and several others injured.

The FBI said in a statement late Saturday that it is collecting facts and evidence in an ongoing investigation.

Heather Heyer died when a car rammed into a group of people who were protesting the presence of white supremacists who had gathered in the city for a rally.

The car's driver, James Alex Fields Jr. was charged with second-degree murder and other counts. He could also face federal charges, depending on the outcome of the FBI's investigation.

The United States District Attorney Rick Mountcastle released a statement about the investigation, saying:

“The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident that occurred earlier Saturday morning. The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner. As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.”

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