2 dead, several injured as car hits pedestrians in New Orleans while city celebrates Mardi Gras: Police

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Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office(NEW ORLEANS) -- Two people are dead and several others were injured after a car allegedly crashed into a number of bicyclists and pedestrians in New Orleans -- about two miles away from the Mardi Gras festivities, police said.

The New Orleans Police Department said it has a suspect involved with the crash in custody. The driver is undergoing standard testing, but police said they believe the driver was intoxicated.

Tashonty Toney, 32, has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, seven counts of vehicular negligent injury, hit and run and reckless operation.

Police held a press conference late Saturday and said eight people were struck in total, including two dead on scene and five who were transported to the hospital. Three of those transported are in critical condition, police said. One person refused transport to the hospital.

A man and woman, both around 30 years old, were killed, according to The Associated Press.

The accident happened on the 3200 block of Esplanade Avenue, a couple miles northwest of the French Quarter. It does not appear to have any connection to the festivities.

Police said they already have footage of the incident from three different surveillance cameras.

The driver struck people over a course of three blocks.

"Initial reports show two victims were struck by a vehicle at the location. The victims were pronounced dead on scene by EMS," the New Orleans Police Department tweeted.

The incident happened in the Bayou St. John neighborhood as revelers began celebrating Carnival a short distance away on Bourbon Street. The celebrations are picking up in advance of Fat Tuesday, which closes out the celebrations this week.

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