A suspect in a drug case fleeing from police this weekend caused a crash at the intersection of Freret and Milan streets that killed an 18-year-old woman, leaving the community mourning an promising young college student and raising questions about the criminal justice system.
Edward Augustine, 22, is charged with manslaughter, two counts of negligent injury and narcotics violations in the crash, police said. Police were initially chasing his Hyundai Sonata after they tried to stop it for a traffic violation at Carrollton and Claiborne, and saw the driver discard a powdered substance then speed away, police said. The officer lost sight of the fleeing vehicle at Willow and Milan, and the crash took place moments later at Freret, police said.
Killed in the crash was Mariah Woods, a Xavier Prep graduate home from Northwestern State University for the holidays. WWL spoke to Xavier officials, where she had just visited, and FOX8 spoke to her family about their questions about the police chase.
Milan-area residents have been complaining in recent months about the use of neighborhood streets as getaway routes for criminals. An anti-crime march is planned for Milan next week.
After the crash, police found 50 foils of heroin on the Augustine, 22-year-old passenger Gerard Martin and a third suspect later identified as Lavell Stovall, they said. Augustine had 12 prior felony arrests and 11 misdemeanors, including murder, gun and drug charges, police said. His dropped charges in a double murder in Harvey were the subject of recent reports by The Times Picayune and WWL.
Martin’s arrest record included five felonies and 10 misdemeanors, which also included several gun arrests.