NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Some Lower Ninth Ward residents said they complained to New Orleans police about illegal ATVs before Sunday's crash that injured five people.
"This is an ongoing issue we'd like to see addressed," LowerNine.org president Laura Paul said. "Those vehicles are not, to my knowledge, street legal. They are certainly not safe. We have first hand account of that now. I think that this will certainly probably cause a little bit of attention to the issue and hopefully something will come of that."
Videos and pictures of the fiery scene on St. Claude Avenue near Lizardi Street quickly went up on social media after police said a drunken man plowed an ATV into a crowd of people at a second line.
ATVs illegally operating on New Orleans streets have become a common sight. About an hour before the crash, FOX 8's cameras caught at least six illegal ATVs driving around the area, one even blocking traffic.
"Fast as they can go, popping wheelies and having fun which is great," Paul said. "But I think there is a time and a place. In the street, at a public event with a lot of people around is clearly not where they need to be."
The Ninth Ward Neighborhood Association brought the problem of illegal ATVs to the NOPD months ago, according to Paul.
"You see them every couple of days for sure, usually just one or two of them at a time," she said.
"They're not even legal to be on the streets at all," NOPD Lt. Anthony Micheu said.
NOPD said it's trying to curtail the problem in the Ninth Ward and in the French Quarter. Officers also said they tried to stop 31-year-old Earl Guy before the crash Sunday, but said he sped away and lost control, plowing into the crowd.
According to investigators, Guy's blood alcohol level was .153.
"He was charged for DWI, but he was also charged with first-degree vehicular negligent injury and negligent injury," Micheu said.
Police said all of the injuries are non-life threatening, but include broken collarbones and a broken ankle.
At this time, officers do not know if the ATV in the crash was registered to Guy.