NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A New Orleans police officer is in grave condition after being hit by a suspected drunken driver. Supt. Michael Harrison asks the New Orleans community for prayers for 31-year-old Officer Natasha Hunter.
"This hurts, this hurts man because here's a great officer, a great person, doing her job, doing what she was assigned to do, asked to do, going to help another officer and then becomes a victim of someone's bad choices," Harrison said Sunday morning.
Harrison says Hunter, a 12 year veteran, is unresponsive at University Medical Center after a suspected drunk driver plowed into the back of her unit, early Sunday morning on I-10. Hunter's SUV was parked on the shoulder near the Esplanade exit with her lights on and flares set up behind her, to divert traffic, as another officer investigated a multi-vehicle accident. Hunter was still sitting in her unit.
Harrison explains, "This car apparently just reared off to the right and crashed into her vehicle."
Hunter is the mother of a five-year-old girl and comes from a family of law enforcement officers. Harrison says she's beloved by those she works with.
"You can tell just by looking and seeing the reaction of her colleagues and her friends that she was number one, a great person," Harrison said.
"People have a choice, and they make this choice but they don't have to drink and drive," Harrison said. "There's so many options."
The driver of the car that hit Hunter is being treated at a hospital for injuries he sustained in the crash. He hasn't been identified. Police say his breath smelled of alcohol and he admitted to drinking earlier in the evening.
"When he is released he is going to be arrested and charged with negligent vehicular injury," Harrison said.
Two NOPD officers have been killed in the line of duty within the last year. Daryle Holloway last June then Vernell Brown in July, and now another gravely wounded, Harrison says, it hasn't been easy. All he's asking for, are prayers.