While at a T-ball game around 4:40 p.m. Monday at St. Charles Borromeo School, a Destrehan man struck his wife and child with his vehicle and then committed suicide by jumping off I-10 in New Orleans.
At the scene, school Principal Mary Schmidt said witnesses reported seeing Mengkai Zhang, 47, of Destrehan, driving erratically on a road behind the school.
“The car peeled out, U-turned and left,” Schmidt said. “The car hit three cars on the way out, and the two people on the ground were his wife and child.”
Zhang also injured a third person, unidentified, in one of the vehicles he struck as he sped off the property. Schmidt said Zhang’s wife, child and third person injured were all treated and released.
Schmidt said Zhang had enrolled his child in the school in the fall.
“As the mother was walking back to her car, this happened,” she said of the incident. “The part that we know is a commotion with a vehicle peeling out and speeding.”
Zhang’s erratic behavior came as a shock.
“They were very private,” Schmidt said. “This completely came out of the blue as far as we’re concerned. We couldn’t even imagine this scenario.”
Although no one witnessed the initial altercation that set off Zhang, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes said the couple had recently separated.
While the Sheriff’s Office was seeking Zhang on two charges of attempted murder, Yoes said they learned the New Orleans Police Department was working an alleged suicide case involving the suspect.
NOPD Public Information Officer Aaron Looney confirmed Zhang died from injuries sustained after jumping from the westbound lanes of the Interstate 10 high-rise bridge shortly after the altercation at St. Charles Borromeo School.
“He was found lying on the southbound lane of the Jourdan Road overpass, which connects Jourdan Road to Almonaster Avenue,” Looney said.
By this time, NOPD learned from the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office that Zhang was wanted for two counts of attempted murder.
According to Yoes, Zhang was positively identified at the scene along with the vehicle used during the attempted murder reported in Destrehan.