Fatal accidents mar weekend in New Orleans

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 28, 2011 at 8:45 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 28 at 11:12 AM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS – Law enforcement officers investigated three fatal accidents in the metropolitan area this weekend, two of which involved alcohol.

New Orleans Police said the city typically doesn’t see an uptick in fatal crashes during Mardi Gras season because people typically walk to parades.

Friends and family said Oman Pena, 23, had a big heart, working two jobs to help his family while attending Delgado Community College. But for Pena, a night of fun with friends in New Orleans turned tragic when his black Nissan sedan  crashed early Sunday morning as he was heading hom.

Officials said Pena lost control of his car, slamming into a column on Interstate 10 at the Clearview Parkway exit ramp. Pena was killed and two passengers were injured.

“It’s one of the hardest things we have to do as a trooper is go knock on a door and tell someone that their loved one isn’t coming home,” Louisiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Joseph Piglia said.

Officials said none of them were wearing seatbeats. Piglia said officials are still waiting for toxicology reports, but both speed and alcohol are suspected in the crash.

“Obviously when we start getting around Mardi Gras times or other times where we have other festivities going on in the city, traffic is out there and people have a tendency to drink a little more and get behind the wheel of a vehicle,” Piglia said.

Pena’s crash wasn’t the only one, however.

Another man died in wreck in Metairie.

A passenger died when he was thrown from the car that Kerry Farnsworth, 29, was driving. According to officers, Farnsworth was speeding on West Napoleon Ave., early Saturday morning when he lost control of his Honda and flipped several times, throwing his passenger from the car.

The body was found in a nearby drainage canal. Farnsworth is charged with negligent homicide, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and DWI.

Another man was killed in a Sunday accident in Orleans Parish.

A 43-year-old man was driving his Jeep Grand Cherokee on Chef Menteur Hwy., when he lost control, striking a fire hydrant, a bus stop and a utility pole. The man’s name hasn’t been released and officials aren’t sure if alcohol was involved.

Piglia said there’s an easy solution in keeping people from getting in the deadly wrecks.

“Have a designated driver,” Piglia said. “And a designated driver is somebody that hasn’t had anything to drink, not someone that’s had the least.”
 

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