NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two people were killed and 7 others were injured after being struck by a car on three different blocks of Esplanade Avenue Saturday night (March 2), according to New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson.
The driver initially fled the scene Ferguson said, but police arrested him a short while later. NOPD did not release the suspect’s name and as of 10 p.m., police were still working to determine whether or not he was intoxicated.
According to Ferguson, the driver hit a total of eight people between the 3400 block and the 3200 block of Esplanade Avenue. New Orleans EMS spokesman Lt. Jonathan Fourcade said a man and woman were pronounced dead on the scene, both about 30-years-old.
Two 28-year-old women were injured and brought to University Medical Center’s trauma center, as was a 53-year-old woman. Two men were also brought to UMC, one is 56 and the other is 62.
EMS Director Emily Nichols said three of the five people brought to UMC were in critical condition.
A 65-year-old man was also injured, but was in stable condition and refused treatment on the scene, Fourcade said. Police initially said there were a total of eight victims, but updated this number after a ninth was later brought to the hospital “out of an abundance of caution.”
Related: NOPD officer’s son accused in hit-and-run crash that killed 2, injured 7
At least two damaged Blue Bikes -- the city’s bike sharing service -- could be seen on the street while investigators worked the scene in the 3200 block of Saturday night. Ferguson said investigators were not sure if all the victims were on bicycles when they were hit, but confirmed at least five or six were.
Marianne Lightfoot said she heard a loud crash and as a first responder, rushed to see if someone was hurt or needed help.
“The first thing I saw was the man up there that got hit from behind,” Lightfoot said. “I checked with him and he said he was really shaken.”
The victims’ names were not known Saturday night.
According to Ferguson, the suspect will be brought to the hospital later Saturday night after NOPD completes the “standard protocol,” to determine his condition at the time of the crash.
Ferguson called the response a “coordinated effort," across public safety departments as well as with citizens in the area who helped the victims while EMS was on their way to the scene.
NOPD said the crash was not connected to the Endymion Parade, which rolled through the city the same night, but not in the same area.
Note: This story was updated after police corrected the number of victims