NEW ORLEANS -- A 15-year-old died in a drag racing crash on Hayne Boulevard Thursday morning.
According to the Orleans Parish Coroner's office, 15-year-old Gabriel Garcia was inside the car that crashed into a grocery store in New Orleans East on March 16. He died on the scene.
Police say two cars were racing down Hayne Boulevard Thursday morning when they bumped into each other and went spinning out of control.
Surveillance cameras captured a stolen Toyota 4 runner losing control and slamming into the Habibi Grocery store. Police say Garcia was inside that vehicle. The other car involved in the race, a Chevy Tahoe, flipped several times, but the driver and passengers were able to walk away.
Residents who live along Hayne Boulevard say drag racing down that stretch of road is common.
“Everybody’s racing, it’s crazy,” resident Cynthia Foy said.
"Figure out how to get to work. Figure out how to make a living,” Reid said.
Everyone impacted by the crash says enough is enough.
"They're too young, they drive too fast and they don't care about anything else,” Habibi Grocery owner Mubarak Ayyad said.
"You can't steal and do stuff you ain't supposed to be doing, it ain't the way to go,” Reid added.
On a street known for drag racing, residents hope this crash will serve as a somber reminder of what can happen.
"Slow down,” Fey said. “It's not worth it. It's sad it's not worth it."
NOPD Traffic Commander Lieutenant Anthony Micheu provided the following statement on the crash and the struggles to crack down on drag racing.
“We are always looking to stop speeders and violators of traffic laws. If we see a problem we address it within the resources at our disposal. We are now using speed camera cars and any way possible to cut down on bad driving habits.
This morning’s crash was a tragic incident, but bad criminal decisions and individual irresponsibility are what we always fear the most. Some people are not fully understanding of the potential serious consequences when getting behind the wheel of a vehicle or how much of a weapon it can be.”
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