Tiffany Cola stood before the New Orleans City Council on Thursday and made a teary plea to anyone listening to the session on TV or online: Do not ride four-wheel all-terrain vehicles in the city.
“They’re meant for country roads, wooded areas — not pavement,” she said.
Her sister, Daphne Cola, was struck by an ATV late last month as she was leaving Kermit’s Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge at North Claiborne Avenue and Columbus Street. She died a week later.
New Orleans police are cracking down on the vehicles, which are illegal to use in the city, said Deputy Police Superintendent Darryl Albert, who was invited to speak before the council about laws and regulations related to ATVs and other off-road vehicles.
Albert said police will seize any off-road vehicles they find parked and will make an attempt to stop anyone spotted riding one. But, he noted, those on the vehicles sometimes speed away, and police are not always willing to risk a chase because of the dangers involved for the officers, the person they are chasing and bystanders.
Social media and videos on sites such as YouTube might be emboldening some people to recklessly ride ATVs in the city, Albert said.
Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell said she regularly sees people on the vehicles at A.L. Davis Park and Taylor Park, both in Central City, but has not seen much being done to stop them.
“I think that’s a place they get their confidence before riding the streets,” she said.
Albert said he would ask police in the 6th District to check out the situation.
Lt. Anthony Micheu, commander of the NOPD’s Traffic Division, said clues continue to come in about who killed Daphne Cola, but no suspect has been named.
“We are making strides,” he told the council.
Outside the council chamber, Micheu pulled Tiffany Cola close and told her, “It’s not if (an arrest will be made), but when.”
Follow Danny Monteverde on Twitter @DCMonteverde.