Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones said at the conference that 14 people were treated for injuries, "ranging from life-threatening to mild". The skirmishes unfolded following a scuffle Friday night between torch-bearing demonstrators and counter-protesters at the nearby University of Virginia.
The man arrested in the crash is 20-year-old James Fields. "And then it reversed back into the street dragging bodies and clothes".
It escalated to violence Saturday as thousands descended on Charlottesville for the rally meant to protest the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, previously known as Lee Park.
Fighting broke out on Saturday in the city's downtown, when hundreds of people, some wearing white nationalist symbols and carrying Confederate battle flags, were confronted by a almost equal number of counter-protesters.
Five people suffered critical injuries and four had serious injuries from the vehicle strike, health officials said. The police are treating it as a criminal homicide, and charges are pending.
The crash happened just a few hours after a vehicle plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the white nationalist rally.
Virginia State Police said the driver was detained.
Circumstances of the crash of the Bell 407 helicopter were not immediately clear. "There's no role for racism or bigotry in the United States of America", he said.
Rally organizer Jason Kessler, who calls his views "pro-white", told CBS News that he believed the city's decision was "unconstitutional" and that the move was discriminatory.
Police began evacuating the city's Emancipation Park after declaring those gathered there to be part of an "unlawful assembly".
Calling for unity, US President Donald Trump also condemned the violence via Twitter.
At no point did he condemn white nationalism or white supremacy.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides", the president said.
Members of a self-described militia, dressed in camouflage and armed with long guns, said they meant to keep the peace between opposing protesters.
Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices with his campaign past year.