NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Officer Vernell Brown, a 17-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department, died Friday night from injuries he suffered Sunday in an accident on the Pontchartrain Expressway.
The community and it's police force, now try to move forward in the face of sorrow.
At a press conference Saturday, Police Chief Michael Harrison said, "(Vernell) Brown was one of our great police officers, he's the type of officer we're training the rest of our department to be like."
Chief Harrison said Brown's death, only amplifies who he was in life. "When he arrived at your scene, he just had a very calming way about him," Chief Harrison said. "That sort of was very inviting, and you don't find that quality in people much these days."
Police say Brown was working with two recruits Sunday morning, responding to a car fire on the Pontchartrain Expressway. As he stepped out of the police cruiser, investigators say, two cars crashed, one of which hit Brown, sending him into a coma from which he would never emerge. Harrison noted the cruel irony, that one of the best crash reconstruction investigators on the force, would become a crash victim himself.
"I was told this morning he was actually an expert in traffic fatality reconstruction in both criminal and civil court," said Harrison.
Brown's life ended Friday night, even as a crowd gathered at police headquarters to pray for the department, which has suffered so much in recent weeks, including the shooting death of officer Daryl Holloway.
From the rally, a group marched to University Hospital to pray for Officer Brown in the final moments of his life. It's a burden that seems to get heavier by the day, as the community mourns the ones who protect and serve.
Chief Harrison said, "It's been a very tough couple of weeks for our police department, but I have to say that we're a very resilient police department, very resilient police officers. Just like the citizens of this city."
Funeral arrangements for Officer Brown have yet to be announced.
In the meantime, no charges have been filed against the drivers involved in the accident Sunday.