NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - We're hearing today from the family of one of the victims who was killed after a police chase ended in a fatal crash in New Orleans East.
The crash killed 2-year-old Ivory Washington and a male passenger. Police say the driver of the car, 21-year-old Kenneth Davis, shot and killed himself after the crash.
The girl's family can't understand why the police chase, which began after an attempted traffic stop for a stolen license plate, was necessary. State Police say they tried to avoid it.
"(She was) joyful, playful, you know, loved to run around, go to everybody," said Ivory's great grandfather, Clarence Joseph.
"She was a joy to be around," said the girl's great grandmother, Alice Joseph.
The chase ended in a horrific crash on Chef Menteur Highway
"I didn't know the guy, and from what I heard something about a license plate, you know," Clarence said. "I don't know what led to the chase, you know, if it was a simple license plate thing just pull over. You, whatever, you got a child in the car, 2-year-old, high-speed chase like that."
We spoke to Clarence at the home he shares with his wife, Alice. She was at UMC where the toddler's mother, India Washington, is hospitalized, struggling to cope with losing her daughter.
The chase began on Canal and Rampart streets downtown after a trooper allegedly spotted a stolen license plate on a Honda Accord.
"When they attempted to box him in, they did everything they could to prevent a pursuit from even occurring," said State Police spokeswoman Trooper Melissa Matey. "Once the driver decided to back up and go around law enforcement, evade a traffic stop, we pursued. It's tragic that a child was involved. The trooper was not able to determine whether or not there was a child in the back seat. He had no idea how many occupants were in the vehicle."
Alice said her great granddaughter had recently returned to New Orleans from Texas, where she had been living.
"I don't understand it, I really don't," she said. "It was only for a stolen license plate. Couldn't they have done something else, anything else, anything else? It was a stolen license plate, nothing else, it wasn't a robber, or a killer, or a kidnapper. It was a license plate, and now our baby is dead because they pursued this guy. We have no idea why he ran from the police."
The other male who was killed in the crash still hasn't been identified. Matey said she doesn't know if the vehicle was stolen, and that State Police are working with the NOPD to determine if the vehicle had been used in other crimes.