NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Coliseum Square is a popular spot for people to relax, enjoy the park’s fountain, and walk their dogs. But Monday afternoon, two people there were nearly hit by a speeding car. The dogs they were walking on leashes were hit and are seriously hurt.
Gretna police say they were trying to catch a burglary suspect. The chase started on the West Bank and continued across the river and into the Lower Garden District.
Two workers with the Southern Animal Foundation were walking a pair of dogs when the suspect’s car approached at a high rate of speed from Race Street. The car left the pavement and ran through the park. The workers thought they were going to get hit. They were able to jump out of the way, but they were unable to keep the two dogs out of the car’s path.
Both dogs sustained serious injuries. The Southern Animal Foundation is a low-cost, nonprofit veterinary clinic. The dogs are rescues that were up for adoption. Their injuries are too serious for the SAF team because the animals require 24 hour care, so they were taken to MedVet center in Metairie for treatment. If you’d like to help cover the cost of the animals’ treatment, you can make a donation at this link.
The SAF is also posting updates on the dogs on the clinic’s Facebook page.
The suspect was arrested, but not before the car tore across Coliseum Square park. There’s a school at the edge of the park which had dismissed students for the day. Students were in the area at the time, but none were hurt.
Gretna police say the suspect faces charges of burglary and aggravated flight from a police officer. More charges may follow.
But in a statement from the NOPD, the department says it is treating the incident as a Gretna case. At this point, there’s no indication that the driver will face any charges for driving into the park, narrowly missing two people, and hitting the two dogs. No NOPD officers were involved in the chase.
For the record, the deputy director at the SAF is Elizabeth Sprang who is also the wife of WGNO news anchor Curt Sprang.