Woman severely injured in hit-and-run crash on bicycle leaving Jazz Fest
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Family and friends of Katherine Elkins, a nurse at Touro Infirmary, are pleading for the public’s help after a hit-and-run accident left her with life-threatening injuries as she was leaving Jazz Fest.
“Life as she knows it is going to be forever different,” said Elkins’ attorney, Charlie Thomas. “She’s not going to return to any sense of normalcy for a very long time. "
According to the New Orleans Police Department, the crash occurred at the intersection of Esplanade and Claiborne around 9:15 p.m. on Saturday (April 29) night. Elkins’ friends say she was riding her bike away from day two of the festival when a car slammed into her without slowing down or stopping.
Surveillance footage obtained by Fox 8 shows a white car speed through the intersection, launching the bike in the air.
“This is a violent crime. You’ve got somebody where their life is completely upended. She’s going to be in the hospital for who knows how long,” said Thomas. “Her life is forever changed. If we’re not holding people accountable then it’s going to be open season on anybody else.”
Elkins suffered brain bleeds, multiple broken ribs, and an ankle fracture so severe that she is in danger of losing her foot, her friends said. Fortunately, an ambulance was stationed nearby and EMTs witnessed the incident. Elkins was intubated and rushed to University Medical Center, where she remains in critical condition.
“She’s doing better than she was earlier in the week before she was intubated and not really in consciousness. So, she’s becoming more lucid,” said Thomas.
Bike safety activist David Meza says bikers have just as much of a right to be in the main lanes of traffic as cars.
“Intersections are always the most dangerous part... most susceptible for conflict,” said Meza. “They’ve just become a lot more unpredictable than they ever have been.”
Elkins’ loved ones have set up a GoFundMe account to help with her medical bills and are also working on a reward for information leading to the arrest of the driver who hit her.
“This happened after Jazz Fest. People have come to this city, people are enjoying themselves, they’re spending money,” said Thomas. “This is a bad look for the city. Just zoom out from the personal tragedy with Katherine. This is a bad look for the city if we just let this happen and we’re not catching this person.”
The NOPD is investigating the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.
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