NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The man arrested in connection with a hit-and-run crash that killed two people and injured seven in Bayou St. John Saturday night (March 3) is the son of a New Orleans Police Department officer, NOPD spokesman Andy Cunningham said in a news release.
Tashonty Toney was arrested on two counts of vehicular homicide, seven counts of vehicular negligent injury, hit-and-run and reckless operation of a motor vehicle, Cunningham said.
Investigators believe Toney was intoxicated when he crashed into a total of nine pedestrians over a span of three blocks on Esplanade Avenue, according to police. The night of the crash was Toney’s 32nd birthday, according to NOPD. As of early Sunday, police were waiting for the results of his blood-alcohol tests.
Cunningham said the fact Toney’s father is an NOPD officer will not affect the way the department handles the investigation.
“This discovery does not change and will not impact our department’s investigation which will be open and transparent,” Cunningham said.
The department is working with the NOPD’s federal consent decree monitor, according to Cunningham, in order to “ensure a just and transparent investigation.” The monitors were on the scene Saturday night, Cunningham said, and NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson has been in “constant contact” with them.
The crash was reported just after 8 p.m. and Toney initially fled the scene after hitting all eight victims between the 3400 and 3200 blocks of Esplanade Avenue. Toney was arrested a short while later, according to police.
New Orleans EMS spokesman Lt. Jonathan Fourcade said the fatal victims were a man and a woman who were 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, Fourcade said.
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. Officials initially reported there were a total of eight victims involved in the crash, but the ninth victim later sought medical attention “out of an aubundance of caution," Cunningham said. He was brought to the hospital in a private vehicle.
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.
Toney’s booking photo was not immediately available.