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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Man believed to be drag racing flips car on Hayne Boulevard and dies, New Orleans police say

By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Times-Picayune
November 06, 2009, 11:00PM

A Hammond man flipped his Chevrolet Camaro over while apparently drag racing on an eastern New Orleans lakefront road early Friday and died, according to authorities.

Carlon Brown was 43, coroner's chief investigator John Gagliano said.

Brown zoomed his late model car west down the 14000 block of Hayne Boulevard about 1 a.m., NOPD spokeswoman officer Shereese Harper said. He suddenly lost control of the Camaro and rolled over several times.

Someone who saw the accident called 911, but police don't know the caller's identity. Brown was alone when New Orleans EMS paramedics arrived to treat him, and he had already died, Harper said.

Autopsy results weren't available Friday, but Gagliano said investigators are almost certain injuries associated with the car's rollover killed Brown.

Brown listed several home addresses in the Tangipahoa Parish city of Hammond, according to public records. Officers believe the 43-year-old was drag racing, Harper said.

Amateur racers have roared down streets in eastern New Orleans - such as Hayne and Chef Menteur Highway - for years.

A city ordinance passed in 2005 banned "motor vehicle speed contests" and "exhibitions of speed" on streets, roads and highways. It also made it illegal for anyone to watch the races or barricade streets to regular traffic to facilitate street races.

But the ordinance didn't completely slam the brakes on speedsters, neighbors said. "I knew something like this was going to happen sooner or later," said Robert Boyd, 57, a retired cook who has lived in a house facing Hayne for four years.

Boyd said racers' cars and motorcycles regularly scream past his front door, often with a crowd of spectators gathering along the levee across the street or in front of empty lots nearby.

He called the cops out once, "but it didn't do much," Boyd said. Races take place most weekends and some week nights, often as he watches television with his wife or sleeps. Leroy Scott, who lives on a street off Hayne, added that races go on "constantly."

"You hear the cars screeching, see black skid marks on the street," Scott said. "It's really unsafe."

Homes with cars in their driveways and fountains on their lawns line the 14000 block of Hayne. A nursing home - the Ferncrest Manor Living Center - stands near where Brown wrecked.