Metairie woman charged in traffic death of NOPD Officer - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Metairie woman charged in traffic death of NOPD Officer

Norma Morales, 21 (OPCSO) Norma Morales, 21 (OPCSO)

A Metairie woman now faces charges in the death of a New Orleans police officer.

Norma Morales, 21 was arrested Friday and booked with criminal negligent homicide in the death of officer Vernell Brown.
In July, officer Brown was responding to a car fire on the Pontchartrain Expressway when he was struck by a vehicle. According to arrest documents, NOPD Traffic Fatalities investigators detained Morales after determining she caused a chain-reaction crash that sent another driver's vehicle careening into Brown. The officer was out of his police unit at 5:38 a.m. while investigating an earlier crash on westbound U.S. 90 near the merge ramp onto eastbound Interstate 10.

Police said Morales was driving her 2006 Toyota Scion westbound on U.S. 90, when "for unknown reasons" she veered into a Ford Mustang that was in the lane to her right as they approached the scene of the earlier accident.

The report said Morales "struck the Ford Mustang with such force that the Mustang was forced from its lane of travel and onto the shoulder/safety area where police, fire and medical were on the elevated interstate."
Following the accident, Morales, was taken to NOPD's Traffic Division. The report said the 4-foot-11, 110-pound woman provided a breath sample at 8:47 a.m. - three hours after the crash - that showed a blood alcohol content of .058. Drivers are considered impaired in Louisiana when their blood alcohol content registers at .08 or higher.

The driver of the Mustang that was propelled into Brown also submitted a breath sample, which registered a BAC of .00, the report said.

Morales could face up to five years in prison if convicted. She was released from jail after posting a $25,000 bond.

Officer Brown died several days later at the hospital on July 17.

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