Family still looking for answers after hurricane eclipses pleas for help in Algiers hit and run case

Long Van Nguyen, 84, was hit on August 26 and died August 28, the day before Ida made landfall.
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 10:38 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A day before Ida made landfall, an 84 year-old husband and grandfather lost his life after being hit by a truck in Algiers two days earlier.

The driver never stopped and the hurricane hit, now, more than three weeks later, his family is no closer to finding the person behind the wheel.

“He fought to the very end, to the absolute, very end,” daughter Khanh Nguyen-Dufour said.

After two days in the ICU and three major surgeries, Long Van Nguyen, 84, lost the battle with his internal injuries, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and his wife of 53 years right by his side.

“We cry so much,” Thuong Nguyen said about her husband’s death. “All the family, the children, they cry so much when it was time for him to go.”

“We know that he’s at peace, but obviously we’re not,” Nguyen-Dufour said.

Around 8:30 a.m. on August 26, Nguyen- Dufour says her father did what he did every morning, got up and did some maintenance on one of his rental properties on West Park Court.

“It didn’t matter how much we wanted to hire people to help with just simple things like grass cutting, I mean, he wanted to do it,” Nguyen-Dufour said.

He was weed eating in the alley along the side of the property, which is the way in and out of the parking lot around back, when someone hit him and kept on driving.

If not for a neighbor, who forgot their cell phone that morning and turned around to go back home, Nguyen-Dufour says she doesn’t know when someone would have spotted him lying in the alley.

“He may have been on the ground by himself for 20 to 30 minutes before any help reached him,” Nguyen-Dufour said.

She says he was alert enough when the ambulance arrived to tell them it was a light, silver-colored truck that hit him, but that was all he had the chance to say.

Like so many families across the region, the Nguyen’s world was turned upside down, but for them it wasn’t because of the hurricane. That has only prolonged their suffering.

“He passed away a day before Ida made landfall, so his story hasn’t been able to be publicized until now,” Nguyen-Dufour said. “I mean we’re extremely desperate for help with no leads whatsoever. We do have a detective on the case but as far as we’re concerned, nothing has come from any of investigations.”

The Nguyen’s have been canvassing the neighborhood themselves, but so far haven’t been able to get their hands on any surveillance videos or eye witnesses. They won’t stop though. They know those pieces of the puzzle are out there.

“It feels bad in my heart, so bad, we can’t do nothing,” Nguyen said.

NOPD says the Traffic Fatality Unit is investigating the incident.

The Nguyen’s have teamed up with CrimeStoppers and are offering a $2,500 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest and indictment. That tip can be made anonymously.

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