A 29-year-old New Orleans woman was struck and killed while riding a bicycle on March 23 on Leon C. Simon Drive. The alleged driver, a 31-year-old man, reportedly fled the scene of the accident.
On March 24, law enforcement authorities responding to an anonymous tip located the man. He reportedly confessed to striking the woman with his vehicle and then fleeing. Police arrested him, and he was booked and taken into custody on charges of manslaughter.
The accident happened around 7:30 p.m. when the woman and her cousin were riding bicycles together home from a visit to Lake Pontchartrain. The man was driving a 2010 Chevrolet Traverse that was owned by his girlfriend. He struck the 29-year-old woman, which caused her bicycle to fly over the top of the SUV, leaving damage to the vehicle's bumper, hood and windshield. The woman died after being transported to the hospital. After police located the SUV, they found that the man had attempted to disguise the damage by covering some of it with a trash can lid and putting a brick in the broken windshield. Police said they believe he had three small children in the car at the time of the accident. It is unclear why he fled. His bail was set at $100,000.
A negligent driver who flees the scene of an accident may face both criminal prosecution while also possibly holding civil liability. In the event of a fatal accident, the victim's surviving family members may want to meet with an attorney to see if the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit would be an appropriate step to take.
Source: The Advocate, "Anonymous tip led to arrest of man accused of killing bicyclist; bail set at $100,000," Matt Sledge, March 25, 2016