NEW ORLEANS, LA—After conducting a thorough investigation over the past five weeks, today, the NOPD Traffic Division Fatality Unit announced the arrests of three individuals wanted in connection with a fatal hit and run incident that occurred on July 27, 2014 at the intersection of North Claiborne Avenue and Columbus Street. The incident left 37-year-old Daphne Cola dead.
25-year-old Darrin Smith was arrested Wednesday afternoon on one count of Manslaughter and one count of Possession of Stolen Property. The NOPD believes Smith was the driver of the ATV during the incident.
25-year-old Sadie Brown was arrested Wednesday afternoon on one count of Accessory to Manslaughter and one count of Possession of Stolen Property. The NOPD believes Brown was the passenger riding on the ATV during the incident.
26-year-old Matthew Cousan was arrested Tuesday night on one count of Accessory to Manslaughter and one count of Obstruction of Justice. The NOPD believes Cousan played a role in helping Brown leave the scene.
"These arrests are a direct result of a strong collaboration between law enforcement and the community on the investigation into this tragic incident," said Lt. Anthony Micheu, Commander of the NOPD Traffic Division. "After reviewing several hours of video surveillance footage, interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence and sifting through dozens of tips from the community, I am proud that our detectives are now able to bring the individuals responsible to justice."
The NOPD believes Smith and Brown were travelling on a stolen ATV at a high rate of speed on North Claiborne Ave just before midnight on July 27 when Smith lost control of the ATV and struck Cola and a parked vehicle. The ATV flipped several times ejecting Smith and Brown onto the roadway. Both Smith and Brown walked away from the wreckage and never returned. Cola was transported from the scene to the hospital where she later died.
The NOPD Traffic Division Fatality Unit, along with the NOPD Intelligence Unit, State Police Crime Lab and NOPD Violence Offenders Warrants Squad have been working around the clock on this investigation. In addition, NOPD and Crimestoppers received several tips from citizens that have led police to the individuals who may have been involved.
The investigation is on-going.
NOPD Traffic Fatality Investigator Edgar Edwards is leading the investigation.
Citizens with information that can help solve this crime is asked to call CRIMESTOPPERS at 822-1111 or toll-free 1-877-903-STOP(7867) or Text your crime tip to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637), Text TELLCS then your crime information. You could receive a cash reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person(s) responsible. You do not have to give your name nor testify to receive the reward. Citizens can also submit an anonymous tip online.
Whoever becomes an accessory after the fact shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both; provided that in no case shall his punishment be greater than one-half of the maximum provided by law for a principal offender.
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