NOPD officer dies in hospital after being struck by vehicle

VIDEO: NOPD press conference on death of Officer Vernell Brown

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department is in mourning after one of their own died Friday night.

Officer Vernell Brown died in the hospital on July 17 after spending several days in a coma. He was 47-years-old.

Brown, a 17-year veteran officer, was working a crash on July 12 on U.S. 90 at the I-10 East split with two recruits when he was struck by a car.

"We put our lives on the line every single day," said NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison. "That's what he did last week ... without hesitation."

Officers say the recruit driving the marked police car parked in the shoulder lane and Officer Brown exited on the passenger side of the vehicle. While Brown was walking near the guard rail, police say he was struck by Ford Mustang driven by a 28-year-old man.

NOPD said the Mustang had just gotten into a crash with a Toyota Scion, causing it to leave the roadway. The driver of the Scion, a 21-year-old woman, and the driver of the Mustang both suffered minor injuries.

Police said they took both drivers in for DWI testing and questioning. Preliminary results show that the driver of the Mustang that struck Brown did not have any alcohol in his system and the driver of the Toyota was under the legal limit.

No charges have been filed at this point. The investigation is ongoing.

Supt. Harrison addressed the media Saturday and spoke highly of Brown as an officer and as a man.

"Officer Brown was one of the best fatality reconstruction investigators the department has ever had," Harrison said. "He was very professional, he was very good at what he did, very soft spoken, very humble, but very confident and very competent."

Harrison said that Brown was the type of police officer the NOPD hopes all their recruits become.

"When he arrived at the scene, he just had a very calming way about him ... very inviting," Harrison said. "You just don't find that quality in people much these days ... He will never be forgotten."

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