A man wanted in the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist on Elysian Fields Avenue last week turned himself in to New Orleans police on Monday evening.
Police said they believe Curtis Joseph Turner, 45, was behind the wheel of a black Pontiac Vibe that struck Benjamin Gregory, 37, as he cycled north on Elysian Fields near Royal Street about 10:25 p.m. July 7.
A Crimestoppers tip led investigators to the 2700 block of Delery Street in the Lower 9th Ward, where they found the vehicle they believe killed Gregory.
Police said they intend to book Turner on counts of manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.
Gregory’s funeral was Sunday. His death left his longtime girlfriend and parents reeling and sent fear rippling through a tight-knit group of artists living on Kentucky Street in the Upper 9th Ward.
Gregory was an artist and the “epitome of lust for life,” his girlfriend, Margaret Meinzer, said last week. The two met in 2000 in Pittsburgh and had dated since 2005. She moved to New Orleans in 2009 to be with him.
Both were artists and would frequently collaborate, Meinzer said. “Our art is like ‘Ren & Stimpy’ meets the Renaissance masters,” she said. “He was really inspired by comic books; he was really inspired by van Gogh.”
The two had frequently discussed marriage but had never made firm plans, she said.
Neighbor Marlo Wolters said many members of an “independent, self-sustaining community” of artists living along Kentucky Street and Poland Avenue who use bicycles to travel were frightened by Gregory’s death.
As the number of bicyclists in the city has risen, so have bicycle accidents, rising from 129 in 2010 to 308 in 2014.
“I stopped biking with my children. It was too much to handle it,” Wolters said. “It’s terrifying. I used to bike everywhere.”