Driver involved in fatal crash with NOPD officer booked on vehicular homicide charge



Photo courtesy of The Advocate/WWL-TV
NOPD officer Natasha Hunter
Photo courtesy of The Advocate/WWL-TV NOPD officer Natasha Hunter

The New Orleans Police Department officer who was gravely injured while responding to a multi-car accident on Interstate 10 died on Tuesday, prompting authorities to book the man accused of plowing into her police cruiser on vehicular homicide.

Ofc. Natasha Hunter, who was 31, died on Tuesday and was a 12-year veteran of the Police Department.

"This is a tragic loss for her family, friends, fellow officers and our entire community," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. "Officer Hunter was a dedicated public servant who loved her family, her job and serving her city. We will never forget the sacrifice she made and the hearts and prayers of our entire department our with her family today and always."

Hunter leaves behind a 5-year-old daughter. A public prayer vigil will take place at NOPD Headquarters at 715 South Broad Street on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The NOPD has obtained an arrest warrant for the man accused of hitting Hunter.

Police said Chau Thai Nguyen, 33, crashed his black Acura into the rear of 1st District Officer Hunter’s police vehicle at a “high rate of speed.”

Police have obtained a warrant to book Nguyen on counts of first-degree vehicular negligent injuring and reckless operation of a vehicle when he is discharged from the hospital.

Hunter was “nonresponsive” after suffering a serious brain injury in the crash, according to Police Superintendent Michael Harrison.

The incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. As Hunter assisted in directing traffic after a pile-up on eastbound Interstate 10 near the Esplanade Avenue off-ramp, police said, Nguyen ignored warning lights and road flares and crashed into the back of Hunter’s vehicle.

For more, visit the New Orleans Advocate's website.