New Orleans street car crash, 2 dead, several injured

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New Orleans street car crash, 2 dead, several injured.

Two people were struck by a car and killed and at least six others were injured in New Orleans on Saturday night by a motorist a witness said was so intoxicated he had to be revived after the crash, describing the man as “blind drunk.”

New Orleans police said they had arrested the driver, though he was not immediately identified. Police said the incident happened about 8 p.m. around the 3200 block of Esplanade Avenue, a few blocks away from where the superkrewe Endymion’s parade passed.

The two victims pronounced dead at the scene were a man and a woman, each around 30 years old, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services Lt. Jonathan Fourcade said. Five others were taken to University Medical Center for treatment: a 56-year-old man, two 28-year-old women, a 62-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman. Three of those people were critically wounded, city officials said.

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The eighth person struck, a 65-year-old man, declined to be taken to the hospital.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said most of the victims were bicyclists who were struck in between the 3200 and 3400 blocks of Esplanade, a busy corridor in the Bayou St. John neighborhood. The driver eventually came to a stop in the 2900 block of Esplanade, meaning his trail of destruction spanned at least five blocks.

Ferguson said paramedics, police and firefighters had arrived on the scene quickly and had found passersby giving aid — including CPR — to the victims.

Cyclist Frank Rourk told The Advocate he saw a dark sports car spin out on the neutral ground of Esplanade. The driver jumped out of his car shirtless, ran to the corner of North Lopez and Bell streets, laid down on the sidewalk, and lost consciousness, said Rourk, who was pedaling in the bike lane on Esplanade and chased after the driver.

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Rourk said he and two others managed to rouse the driver — who seemed extremely intoxicated — back to consciousness.

Rourk said he told the driver, “I’m pretty sure you’re the guy who wrecked the car. You better go back there.”

The driver responded by asking if he had killed anybody. He then said for someone to call his father and that his father was a policeman, Rourk said.

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“This guy was trashed — blind drunk,” said Rourk, who initially did not realize any people had been hit. “If you talk to him in 24 hours, he’s not going to remember doing any of this.”

Rourk said the driver, whose pants were open, appeared to be in his 20s.

Ferguson said investigators were conducting blood and breath tests to determine the whether the driver was intoxicated. The driver had been taken to the hospital for an evaluation but would be booked upon his discharge, Ferguson said.

City officials also said at least three city-owned crime cameras had captured the incident, and investigators were on the hunt for more footage to track the driver’s movements throughout the evening.

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