Police are still searching for the driver of a dark-colored sedan who allegedly hit a pedestrian in New Orleans’ French Quarter early on New Year’s Day and then left the scene. Making matters worse than the hit-and-run is that the victim, who has now been identified as Harvard graduate Josh Woodruff, was dragged for at least six miles across the Mississippi River bridge.
The New Orleans Police Department took to their Facebook page in hope of getting help from the public in identifying the vehicle, or the driver of it.
The incident happened around 3 a.m. in the early morning of New Year’s Day in the French Quarter in New Orleans. It took place at Dumaine and Decatur Street, but the crime last much longer.
“According to witnesses, the vehicle was seen striking the victim then turning onto Madison St. and traveling against traffic to Chartres. The vehicle then turned right on Chartres eastbound from Madison St, then unknown on Chartres. The initial investigation reveals that the victim may have been dragged by the vehicle from the French Quarter to the Westbank.”
As of Tuesday, all that is still known about the alleged suspect is that the vehicle is a four-door black sedan with tinted windows.
Since the hit-and-run happened, the New Orleans coroner has now identified the disfigured body that was found on the side of the road. WGNO reports that the victim is Josh Woodruff, a Harvard graduate, who passed away as a result of blunt force trauma.
Woodruff was a 28-year-old who was simply in New Orleans with some other friends to celebrate and ring in the New Year. He was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and had been working at a startup company in Los Angeles, California.
A public Facebook group has been started by friends and family of Woodruff, who want to remember him and share memories. They are also hoping that it may be able to bring about some information about whomever was driving the car that hit him.
On New Year’s Day, a passing driver noticed Woodruff’s body on the side of U.S. Hwy 90 near the exit for General De Gaulle.
Police launched their investigation and were able to find surveillance video that showed the black sedan striking the victim. Woodruff was hit by the car while he was attempting to hail an Uber vehicle to catch a ride.
Witnesses have said that the vehicle hit Woodruff near Dumaine and Decatur before turning onto Madison Street. At that point, the vehicle traveled against traffic on Chartres Street and then disappeared from sight.
It was just about 30 minutes later that Joshua Woodruff’s body was found on the opposite bank of the Mississippi River, which could only be reached by crossing a long bridge.
In all, the New Orleans Police Department looked through around 50 surveillance videos and seized 11 of them for further analysis. They are still working on getting a license plate for the vehicle and any further information they can gather.
Caren Woodruff, the victim’s mother, said that her son had texted members of the family before going out in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve.
“I just want you to know how thankful I am for you.”
Joshua Woodruff was a Harvard graduate with his whole life ahead of him, and simply in New Orleans to celebrate the New Year with friends. His time in the French Quarter was cut short due to the hit-and-run that ended his life, and police are hoping that someone will come forth with info soon.
[Photo by Cheryl Gerber/Getty Images]