“I heard a big boom, crash and that’s what it was,” neighbor Sylvia Lunkins said.
She’s talking about the impact that left a 2003 Saturn Ion disabled.
It happened early Sunday morning, around 3:30 a.m.
Someone was apparently angry; someone who police say was driving recklessly — trying to plow down the person they were angry with.
“Well I thought some drunk person did it. That’s what I thought,” neighbor Rev. Roosevelt Trotter said.
Investigators say it was not a drunk driver. Instead, it was New Orleans police officer Stephanie Caldwell.
“A police officer, not a New Orleans, not a perfect New Orleans police officer,” Rev. Trotter said. “They don’t commit no crime.”
Detectives say Caldwell had gotten into a verbal, then physical altercation with a 47-year old man. According to sources, it turned out to be the 10-year veteran’s husband.
Investigators say Caldwell attempted to strike the victim with what sources say was her personal vehicle.
The victim ducked and dodged on foot.
“Let that man go head on, because a man gonna be a man. A man gonna do whatever he wanna do. And that’s one thing I will not do, run behind no man,” Lunkins said.
Caldwell drove after him, allegedly driving against traffic near North Broad and Onzaga Street.
That’s where she struck the parked car.
The chase continued onto Rousselin Drive, where Caldwell struck and cracked a wooden utility pole.
It has since been replaced.
“I think it’s just a mess,” Rev. Trotter said. “We always trying to fix stuff. We need to fix our police department first and foremost.”
“Let me tell you something, if I see my man doing something wrong, the hell away with him,” Lunkins said. “I let him keep on doing it. It will catch up with him eventually. But I’m not going to run behind no man trying to knock him down. They got too many men out here, too many women. Come on girl, get your act together.”
“I’m just ashamed. I’m like Gomer Pyle,” Rev. Trotter said. “Shame, shame, shame.”
Officer Caldwell was most recently assigned to the NOPD SWAT Team; also known at the Special Operation Division Tactical Unit.
She is currently under emergency suspension without pay, pending the outcome of a PIB investigation.
Caldwell faces charges ranging from hit and run to aggravated assault. Caldwell is the fourth NOPD officer charged with a felony within a month.