Bike tour accident sparks investigation of responding officer

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Saturday evening at the corner of Roosevelt Way and Canal Street, police say a motorist hit several tourists on a bike tour with the company Free Wheelin'.

Ryan Bergeron is the owner of the company. He said he showed up on the scene and started shooting video just 20 minutes after the accident happened.

"It was our tour guide and five riders. We pull ourselves over for safety purposes in the triangle, which is out of the way of traffic," Bergeron said.

He said moments later, a woman drove into the crowd.

"The tourists started banging on her windows and doors, telling her to stop. She didn't stop, and instead she came to a stop on top of the bikes," Bergeron said.

He said the driver ran over one tourist and broke her ankle. Ahe had to be hospitalized for treatment.

On the scene, Bergeron recorded cell phone video of responding Officer Alfred Beechem. You can hear Bergeron telling the officer he wanted the driver to have a field sobriety test.

The NOPD said the officer didn't give the woman a field sobriety test, but he did cite her for following too close and no registration.

"That's because that's just kind of standard practice. If we don't see any signs of impairment, we don't give any kind of sobriety test to everybody involved in every accident," Eighth District Commander Nick Gernon said.

The NOPD said a supervisor with 10 years of experience as a DWI-certified traffic officer was also on the scene and he saw no signs of intoxication or driver impairment.

"My concern was if this lady is under the influence, the officer is going to let her go and inflict more harm to the general public," Bergeron said.

Bergeron filed a complaint against Officer Beechem with the Public Integrity Bureau and the Independent Police Monitor.

"The Public Integrity Bureau will do an independent investigation as they would do with any kind of complaint filed, and they'll look at what we did and see if the officer handled everything appropriately," Gernon said.

The Independent Police Monitor is also looking into the incident and said Officer Beechem already has a complaint history against him, including four this year alone.

That's enough, they said, to trigger an early warning system alert which would send the officer to additional training.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved