A police officer was seriously injured when he was hit by a car Sunday morning on the Pontchartrain Expressway, the New Orleans Police Department said.
Shortly after 5:30 a.m., 6th District Officer Vernell Brown and two police recruits in field training went to investigate a vehicle fire on the expressway at the eastbound Interstate 10 split.
When they arrived, the recruit driving the NOPD car parked in the shoulder lane while Brown, 47, got out on the passenger’s side.
As he was walking near the guardrail, Brown was struck by a Ford Mustang.
Brown, a 17-year veteran of the NOPD, was transported to a hospital in serious condition.
Police investigated the incident and found that the driver of the Mustang, a 28-year-old man, had been involved in a crash with a Toyota Scion before he left the roadway and hit the officer.
Both the driver of the Scion, a 21-year-old woman, and the driver of the Mustang suffered minor injuries in that crash.
Both remained on the scene.
Police took both drivers in for DWI testing and questioning.
The man tested negative for alcohol, and the woman tested under the legal limit for driving.
No charges will be filed at this point, the NOPD said. Once their investigation is complete, detectives will consult with the District Attorney’s Office about possible future charges.
A similar incident occurred two years ago, when a police officer was hit on the interstate as he got out to investigate a crash. In that case, Officer Rodney Thomas was killed on the I-10 high rise on July 7, 2013, by a hit-and-run driver.
A New Orleans grand jury indicted six people in August 2013 in connection with Thomas’ death.
Police found that the suspects had attempted to cover up the incident, which involved a white Porsche.
NOPD homicide detectives traced the car to an auto body shop in the 2600 block of Gravier Street, where surveillance video showed someone opening the shop’s garage doors in the middle of the night and another person driving the car inside, according to an article on NOLA.com.
Investigations also revealed the owner of the body shop wiped down the vehicle and threw the bloody towels away in garbage cans, according to another article. Evidence was left behind, however, including hair in the windshield, which was shattered.