Jazz Fest hit-and-run victim slowly improving as NOPD searches for driver
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A Touro Hospital nurse continues to fight for her life after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while biking home from Jazz Fest.
Katherine Elkins was riding her bike at Esplanade and North Claiborne avenues on April 29, when a white sedan struck her at high speed -- sending her bicycle flying -- and drove away without stopping.
The 26-year-old woman suffered broken ribs, brain bleeds and a shattered ankle. She was at risk for amputation before a weekend of surgeries repaired severe damage to her right ankle.
“She is in a lot of pain,” said Elkins’ older sister, Emily Treppendahl. “ But, remembering what I said three days ago while I was still in town, they are just huge milestones that we never thought we would see again.”
The family is focusing on each step of Elkins’ recovery, from brushing her own teeth to signing her own name.
“My 3 1/2-year-old is her best friend. She is Aunt Kitty,” Treppendahl said. “He knows that she is sick and in the hospital. So, he picked her out a present at Target and she loves him so much, so she insisted on putting them on her feet even though they don’t really fit her right now.”
Ten days after the accident, New Orleans police on Tuesday (May 9) released a photo of the car believed to be involved, hoping the public can help detectives locate it.
“You’ve got a hit-and-run crash like this. Somebody is leaving the scene. Who knows if they might be caught up with,” said Elkins’ attorney, Charlie Thomas. “Statistically, right now about 1 in 4 bike crashes with a car is a hit-and-run and not many of those are solved. "
Police said the car is believed to be a white Acura TL, likely made between 2004-08.
Treppendahl says she hasn’t heard from police since Friday. She learned about the suspected car through a Twitter post.
“They told me that it’s going to take a while, so if I don’t hear from them, don’t call, because they’re looking into it,” she said.
With more questions than answers about what happened to her sister, Treppendahl says she is losing confidence in the investigation.
“She’s pretty much, other than my children, my only flesh and blood that I’m really close to,” she said. “So, it’s just really discouraging.”
The NOPD says it has “been in contact with the victim’s family and will maintain the open line of communication with them.”
Anyone with information that could lead to the identity of the driver is asked to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
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