Suspect arrested in crash that killed 14-year-old girl on I-10

Suspect arrested in crash that killed 14-year-old girl on I-10

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The NOPD has arrested a man believed to be responsible for a hit-and-run traffic crash that killed a 14-year-old girl on June 9.

James Thornton, 40, turned himself into the Traffic Fatality Division Thursday after detectives obtained an arrest warrant for him.

At about 11:30 p.m. on June 9, officers responded to a fatal traffic crash on I-10 near the Bullard Avenue exit. During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that a female driver of a white, four-door Pontiac Grand Am was traveling westbound in the right lane with two passengers, when they were hit from behind by a man driving a burgundy Nissan Maxima. The Nissan Maxima then veered into the left lane and struck the back of a black 2012 Dodge Ram Truck.

The driver of the Maxima fled the scene on foot.

Kayla Lagarde, who was in the back seat of the Grand Am, died on the scene. EMS took the other occupants to the hospital in stable condition. The occupants of the Dodge truck were not injured.

Witness participation and police investigation led to Thornton as the driver of the Nissan Maxima.

He was booked on multiple charges, including hit and run, reckless operation, negligent injuring and manslaughter.

Traffic Fatality Detective Michael Baldassaro is in charge of the investigation and can be contacted at (504) 658-6210.

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