NEW ORLEANS -- State Police have identified two of the three people who died Wednesday afternoon -- including a 2-year-old girl -- after a police pursuit that started downtown and ended in New Orleans East.
State Police Trooper Melissa Matey said a trooper was stopped at a traffic light at Canal and Rampart streets. The trooper ran the license plate of the vehicle in front of him, and it came back stolen.
At that point, another trooper arrived at the scene and tried to box the suspect vehicle in, but the driver of the suspected stolen vehicle backed up and went around the troopers.
State Police followed the vehicle from downtown to Claiborne Avenue, then onto I-10 before exiting on Chef Menteur Highway. The suspected stolen vehicle then struck the back of a truck, lost control and veered off the highway before striking a fence.
The two passengers in the vehicle -- 2-year-old Ivory Washington and an unidentified male -- were ejected and died at the scene. Matey said there was a car seat in the vehicle, but it was set up as a booster seat. The 2-year-old should have been rear-facing or in a five-point harness, Matey said.
The driver of the vehicle and the father of the toddler, 21-year-old Kenneth Davis, committed suicide by shooting himself at the scene.
Matey said the pursuit and subsequent crash are still under investigation. She declined to discuss State Police's policy on police pursuits, but she noted that troopers "did everything they could to prevent a pursuit."
She said the windows in the vehicle were tinted, and troopers could not see how many people were in the vehicle.
"It's tragic that a child was involved," Matey said. "We're hurt by it also. Our hearts go out to the family."