NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident Thursday in New Orleans East that killed a 14-year-old girl, according to police reports.
The victim was identified as Kayla Lagarde.
The accident happened on I-10 westbound near Bullard Avenue at 11:13 p.m.
According to preliminary reports, police say a white four-door Pontiac Grand Am with three occupants, the driver and two passengers, was heading westbound in the right lane about half a mile from the Bullard Avenue exit. They were rear-ended by the driver of a burgundy Nissan Maxima, who then veered into the left lane and struck a black 2012 Dodge Ram truck in the rear right side.
The driver of the Maxima fled the scene on foot.
Lagarde, who was in the left rear seat of the Pontiac, died at the scene.
"I'm emotionally drained, it's like I'm numb, I don't have no feelings. I've cried so much that my eyelids are so sore, I don't know what it's gonna be like, because she's not here," Shantell Finnie, Lagarde's mother, said.
The driver of the Pontiac and her front-seat passenger, both females, were taken the hospital in stable condition.
Lagarde's 21-year old sister said she was taking her younger sister to Brother's to get a late night snack, but seconds after they got onto the interstate they were hit.
"She was so happy, she finally made it into high school, she made the dance team, and she was so excited," Finnie said.
Finnie remarked that Lagarde was no stranger to dangerous accidents.
"Kayla was hit by a driver at the age of two, she was in a body cast, doctors said she wouldn't make it, but she pulled through," Finnie said.
Now Lagarde's mother finds it hard to pull through this tragedy, clinging to a necklace her daughter had on when the crash happened.
"Kayla took this chain from me about a month and a half ago and I begged Kayla every day, 'Kayla, could you give me my chain back,' and she wouldn't give it back, but I didn't want it back like this," Finnie said tearfully. "If I could switch places with my daughter I would, I would. For her to have second chance."
The 33-year-old male driver of the Dodge Ram truck and his female passenger were not injured in the accident.
A prayer vigil will be held Saturday at Hardhead Riders Clubhouse in St. Bernard.
Traffic Fatality Detective Michael Baldassaro is in charge of the investigation and can be contacted at (504) 658-6210.