Two women fleeing a hit-and-run accident died after their car struck a utility pole in Metairie on Monday morning, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities say the fatal wreck occurred about 7:30 a.m., after the women’s convertible 2007 Ford Mustang rear-ended a 2006 Lincoln truck on Interstate 10 West’s exit to Causeway Boulevard South at the beginning of the metro New Orleans area’s morning rush hour.
The drivers agreed to meet at a gasoline station at the corner of Causeway and the South I-10 Service Road to report their accident to the cops. But then the Mustang — which was at fault — sped off down the service road, said Trooper Melissa Matey, spokeswoman for Louisiana State Police, which has jurisdiction of the interstate.
The Mustang’s driver was then seen speeding west on the service road while traveling against traffic, said Col. John Fortunato, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. As the Mustang reached the intersection of Edenborn Avenue, it struck a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta attempting to make a left-hand turn, said Fortunato, whose agency has jurisdiction of the service road.
The Mustang tumbled onto its side after the collision and skidded into a utility pole in front of the Metairie Centre building.
The Mustang’s convertible top wrapped itself around the pole. Numerous passers-by called 911 after the accident, but both the Mustang’s driver and passenger were pronounced dead on the scene, Fortunato said. It took parish firefighters more than an hour to extricate both of the women’s bodies from the Mustang because the wreck left it badly mangled.
The extrication efforts required Entergy to cut power off to the Metairie Centre. As a result, the building — housing a variety of offices — was mostly vacant in the late morning.
Fortunato said a 54-year-old man driving the Jetta was neither injured nor cited, though the Volkswagen had significant damage to the left side of the front bumper.
LaToya Gordon — who was walking along the service road to exercise Monday morning — said she saw the Mustang speeding in her direction before it hit the pole, and she feared the car would slam into her as it swerved into the oncoming traffic lane.
“She almost came up on the sidewalk,” Gordon said of the Mustang’s driver. “She was flying.”
Robert Glenn, the manager of an oil change shop on the service road, said he heard the commotion from the deadly wreck while he and his colleagues were working on cars. He stepped out of his garage, dialed 911 after seeing the wreckage, and rushed up to the Mustang alongside Gordon.
They repeatedly called out to the car’s occupants, but there was no response, Glenn said.
“There was no movement — nothing,” Glenn said. “You couldn’t even see their bodies.”
Glenn’s shop’s security camera captured footage of the Mustang speeding up the service road, traveling in the left lane, against traffic. Meanwhile, the Jetta’s blinker was signaling its intent to turn left from the right lane, as the Mustang was zooming up and pulling even with the Jetta.
Glenn said he turned that video over to authorities on Monday. He also said it was difficult to comprehend why Monday’s events occurred the way they did.
“All of this because they didn’t want to deal with an accident they had 10 minutes before,” Glenn said of the Mustang. “It’s a shame.”