One dead, one hurt after car crashes into Seventh Ward building

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Police say one person died and another was hurt when a car crashed into a building in the Seventh Ward neighborhood Wednesday morning.

According to the New Orleans Police Department, the crash happened in the 1800 block of St. Bernard Avenue. Investigators say a male passenger of the car died when the vehicle left the roadway, hit a tree and crashed into a building. Police say the vehicle was coming from AP Tureaud when the driver lost control. 

The male driver was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The crash scene has closed southbound lanes on St. Bernard Avenue between North Prieur and North Roman streets. Residents were asked to avoid the area until further notice as first responders investigated the scene.

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Authorities were able to remove the car without the building collapsing. 

The part of the building the SUV hit is home to a mental health services center.

"They have to get the vehicle out of the building then determine the structure of the building before we can go in," said Steve Dooley, CEO of the mental health center. "It's just a matter of time."

Dooley said that when he received the call about the crash, he though it was a joke, but quickly learned it wasn't.

"It just made me hurry up and expedite getting up here only to see exactly what I see," he said. 

Dooley said that although none of his employees were hurt in the crash, he feels for those involved. 

"Hurt really first and foremost for the individuals and then their families but then I still got to think about me and all the people who work with me at the agency," he said. 

Many in the area after the crash occurred say they were shocked, but one bicyclist says he hopes the crash will change people's driving habits. 

"This is very unfortunate. I use Saint Bernard Avenue every single day to commute to work and back home in Gentilly, and when I see something like this it's not overly alarming given some of the driving behavior out here," Eric Gabourel said. 

Meanwhile, Dooley is picking up the pieces.

"We gotta find a temporary place where we can house ourselves," Dooley said. 

City inspectors say the building is not in danger of collapse, however right now the only people allowed inside are those permitted to perform repairs.