Last updated: 1:47 p.m., June 7, 2016
The New Orleans Police Department officer who was hit by an alleged drunk driver early Sunday at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Esplanade has died from the injuries sustained during the collision.
Natasha Hunter, who was 31, died on Tuesday and was a 12-year veteran of the Police Department.
"This is a tragic loss for her family, friends, fellow officers and our entire community," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. "Officer Hunter was a dedicated public servant who loved her family, her job and serving her city. We will never forget the sacrifice she made and the hearts and prayers of our entire department our with her family today and always."
The NOPD has obtained an arrest warrant for the man accused of hitting Natasha Hunter.
Police said Chau Thai Nguyen, 33, crashed his black Acura into the rear of 1st District Officer Hunter’s police vehicle at a “high rate of speed.”
Police have obtained a warrant to book Nguyen on counts of first-degree vehicular negligent injuring and reckless operation of a vehicle when he is discharged from the hospital.
Hunter was “nonresponsive” after suffering a serious brain injury in the crash, according to Police Superintendent Michael Harrison.
The incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. As Hunter assisted in directing traffic after a pile-up on eastbound Interstate 10 near the Esplanade Avenue off-ramp, police said, Nguyen ignored warning lights and road flares and crashed into the back of Hunter’s vehicle.
Both Hunter and Nguyen were taken to the hospital.
As officers interviewed him there, according to police, they noticed the “strong smell of alcohol on his breath,” and he eventually admitted that he had had several drinks earlier in the night.
Toxicology tests on Nguyen are still pending, according to the Police Department.