Three people are in police custody after they were arrested in connection with a hit-and-run accident that killed a 37-year-old mother of two in July.
“It took five weeks, but we dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s,” said Lt. Anthony Micheu, the NOPD’s Traffic Division commander. He said investigators built a solid case against the suspects thanks to tips they received and DNA evidence.
Darrin Smith, 25, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and booked on a count of manslaughter and possession of stolen property, police said. Investigators believe he was the driver of a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle that sideswiped a Jeep before running over Daphne Cola just before midnight on July 27 outside Kermit’s Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge at North Claiborne Avenue and Columbus Street.
Sadie Brown, 25, was booked on a count of being an accessory to manslaughter and a count of possession of stolen property. Police said they believe she was Smith’s passenger when he allegedly hit Cola.
Matthew Cousan, 26, was arrested Tuesday night on a count of being an accessory to manslaughter and a count of obstruction of justice. Investigators believe he helped Brown flee the scene.
Smith and Brown were traveling on a stolen ATV at a high rate of speed when Smith lost control of the vehicle and it struck the Jeep and Cola, police said.
The ATV flipped several times and tossed Smith and Brown onto the roadway. Both walked away and never returned.
Cola was rushed to Interim LSU Hospital, where she died Aug. 5.
Micheu said the charges Smith and Brown would have faced if they had stayed on the scene would have been serious but not as severe as they are now after allegedly fleeing and involving a third person. He described the attempted cover-up as an “injustice.”
Micheu said the ATV was stolen but declined to discuss when or where it was taken.
Smith’s bail was set at $230,000. Brown’s was set at $15,000, while Cousan’s was set at $50,000, according to court records.
Traffic fatality investigator Edgar Edwards is in charge of the investigation.
Follow Danny Monteverde on Twitter, @DCMonteverde.