The rush hour ride at the intersection of Poland and St. Claude Avenue Tuesday came with high-seed hysteria, multiple auto crashes, a car fire and a an arrest.
Injuries to innocent drivers involved in the crashes are minor, but 37-year-old arrestee and convict, Cyprian Robertson is being treated for a broken leg at University Hospital after bolting from the St. Bernard Parish Courthouse and leading deputies into New Orleans where he crashed his Mercedes into stopped vehicles only to be rescued from his flaming car.
The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office says Robertson fled the courtroom once he was offered a 7-year prison sentence plea in his drug case.
David Koontz, a Chalmette High School social studies teacher and track and field coach said his pickup truck was rear-ended by the Mercedes as he and his 13-year-old stepdaughter sat at the traffic light at Poland and St. Claude.
“I just yelled out to my step daughter ‘Hold on! We’re about to get hit’, and we got hit,” Koontz said.
“We’ll be sore tomorrow.”
Deputies said spike strips were thrown down to pop Robertson’s tires, but he continued to speed away on his rims, a sequence investigators think ignited the fire, which was put out by the New Orleans Fire Department.
Robertson, deputies said, was twice convicted on drug charges and was arrested for possession of cocaine, heroin and marijuana before bonding out and being brought to trial today in St. Bernard.
Expected to recover from his injuries, he faces new charges of aggravated flight from an officer and several traffic offenses.