Two people were killed and as many as nine were injured in New Orleans, following an alleged vehicular homicide near a Mardi Gras parade, The Times-Picayune is reporting.
The incident happened away from the French Quarter and much of the Mardi Gras action, in a residential neighborhood a few blocks away. Most of the victims were riding bicycles when an out-of-control car, allegedly driven by Tashonty Toney, slammed into several people, and then spun out onto a median strip. Witnesses say that the driver then staggered a few feet away from the scene of the crime, asking if he had “killed anybody,” before losing consciousness.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said (via NBC News) that concerned citizens kept the driver from driving away, at first believing that he too had been injured, and required medical attention.
“We were able to apprehend the subject so quickly because citizens stopped this individual, because they thought they were helping someone who had just been involved in a one-car accident.”
Police arrived shortly thereafter, and in addition to getting treating those injured, made an arrest. Authorities say that Toney, who was arrested on his 32nd birthday, is the son of a New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officer. Authorities say that they will not let Toney’s relationship with an NOPD officer taint their investigation.
JUST IN: Mugshot released of 32-year-old Tashonty Toney. The driver accused of hitting, killing two people and hurting seven others last night. He's the son of an NOPD officer. @wdsu pic.twitter.com/D37PTm3He4
— Christina Watkins (@CWatkinsWDSU) March 3, 2019
Two people were killed in the crash. EMS spokesman Jonathan Fourcade only confirmed that the two victims were a man and a woman, both “about 30 years old.” Five others were taken to a nearby hospital: a 56-year-old man, two 28-year-old women, a 62-year-old man, and a 53-year-old woman. One other person, a 65-year-old man, declined medical treatment, while another, though uninjured, drove to the hospital himself “out of an abundance of caution.”
As reported by The Times-Picayune, three of the victims are said to be in critical condition.
Police described the scene as stretching for several blocks, with maimed bicycles strewn about. The two victims who died were thrown 200 feet away from the scene of the initial impact. Taylor’s car apparently struck the median strip so hard that it was turned around, facing the opposite direction.
Although Mardi Gras brings tens — if not hundreds — of thousands of visitors to the Southern city, injuries and accidents are surprisingly rare, despite the widespread consumption of alcohol during the festivities. However, according to KMDL-Radio, the most common Mardi Gras-related mishaps are minor eye injuries, suffered by those injured by flying beads and trinkets thrown from parade floats.