Nine people were killed and 46 injured after a car rammed into a crowd gathered at a square in Hengdong county, Central China's Hunan province, on Wednesday evening, local authorities said.
The attack took place at around 7:35 pm. The injured people, three of them in critical condition, have been taken to hospital.
The driver, surnamed Yang, was taken into custody. The police said he has a criminal record and has been jailed several times.
The case is under further investigation.
According to the record on China Judgments Online website, the 54-year-old Yang was born in Hengdong county, Hunan province, has a junior high school education level and is unemployed.
In October 1992 he was sentenced two years of imprisonment by the Hengdong County Court for crime of intentional injury and in 2001 the court sent him back to prison for three years on charge of dealing in drugs, according to Beijing Evening News.
In October 2005, Yang was sentenced to nine months and three days in prison for his act of defiance and affray, and one year later he was sentenced to another one-year probation after being found guilty of causing fires.
In August 2009, Yang was sentenced to another six months for committing extortion and was released in May 2014.
Yang was sentenced to one year and six months this January for act of defiance and affray.