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Woman in wheelchair killed in hit-and-run; Neighbors say road needs to be safer

"I used to see them all the time. He'd push her up and down this road," Scott said. "Just about every day."

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans police are asking for help finding the driver who hit a woman in a wheelchair and then drove off Monday night.  The 39-year-old woman died and the 43-year-old man who was pushing her wheelchair was hurt with minor injuries. 

People who travel along the stretch of the I-10 Service Road where it happened believe the area needs more lighting.

Alfred Scott rides his bike along the I-10 service road in West Lake Forest every day to work.

"I pay attention even though cars don't pay attention, they don't give me no respect, but I try my best to pay attention and stay out their way," Scott said.

Every day he would see a woman in a wheelchair being pushed by a man along the same stretch.

"I used to see them all the time. He'd push her up and down this road," Scott said. "Just about every day."

According to police, the man was pushing the woman in her wheelchair, just before 6 p.m. near Bundy Road on the I-10 Service Road, they were hit from behind by a white Honda Accord. 

"She was a sweet little lady," said Darryl Williams who works at Sam's Meat Market. "She'd come here and talk while her boyfriend would go in the store and get her a cold drink."

The victim in the hit-and-run often shopped for groceries at Sam's Meat Market, according to employees. Someone always pushed her there in her wheelchair along the I-10 Service Road.

"I have told her, y'all need to get out the highway, you're going to get hit, but they don't have another choice," Williams said.

There is no sidewalk and poor lighting along that stretch of I-10 where the woman was hit, according to those who live and work in the area.

"To hear about her accident was very sad because I know these roads are very dark," said Wanda Williams who works at Sam's Meat Market. "I drive them every night. I have to get in the second lane just because I see people walking. There's no sidewalks, no lights, and everybody from the neighborhood, which we're a low-income neighborhood, has to walk."

Both employees said many of their customers walk that same stretch to their store, many because they don't have a car.

"They need lights," Darryl Williams said. "They really need lights or put a pedestrian walk."

"It may not be the first or last until the city puts up lights or sidewalks," Wanda Williams said, hoping for safety improvements.

The NOPD released a video of the white Honda Accord and is asking for help locating it and the driver. According to the NOPD, the car will have damage to the right side and a damaged or missing side mirror.

The victim’s identity hasn't been released.

Over the last two years, the DOTD has been adding lighting to I-10 in New Orleans East. We reached out to the city to find out if there were plans to add lighting to the I-10 Service Road as well, but we have not heard back yet.

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