A driver who killed a woman Wednesday night as she rode her bike near the lakefront fled the scene but was arrested a day later, the New Orleans Police Department said.
Police said “citizen participation” led them to arrest Rolan White, 31, Thursday on a count of manslaughter in connection with the crash that killed Monique Massey, 29, as she and a cousin were riding their bikes on the westbound side of the 2900 block of Leon C. Simon Drive about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Police alleged that White was behind the wheel of a dark-colored SUV that veered off the road and hit Massey, sending her bike soaring over the vehicle’s passenger side.
The impact from the collision left the vehicle with heavy damage to its front grill and right fender and stripped away a windshield wiper.
Tyler Gamble, a Police Department spokesman, said White had confessed to hitting Massey.
NOPD Traffic Division Cmdr. Anthony “Buddy” Micheu said officers arriving on the scene found Massey’s cousin, who witnessed the incident, “hysterical.” Massey was taken to a hospital, where she died.
“It is unimaginable how an individual could have left the scene of such a tragic and horrific incident,” Micheu said.
A witness to the crash tried to follow the vehicle, police said, but lost it as it traveled westbound on Leon C. Simon.
Deaths in traffic incidents in New Orleans are up 175 percent this year compared with the same time last year, Micheu said, leaving police scrambling to investigate all of them.
Police are still looking for the driver of a black sedan who killed 28-year-old Joshua Woodruff, a tourist from California who was killed in a hit-and-run on Decatur Street early on New Year’s Day.
Woodruff’s body was dragged or carried across the river before it was dislodged from the vehicle.
“This is our first bicycle fatality for the year. But one is way too many for us,” Micheu said. “We’re tired of seeing bicyclists hit, killed. We’re tired of vehicles not paying attention to the roadway.”