Arrest made in fatal hit-and-run of 6-year-old in Chalmette

Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

CHALMETTE, La. (WGNO) — A somber memorial is set up where 6-year-old Deaunta White was fatally hit by a truck that deputies say fled the scene on Monday, March 11.

Loved ones gathered to celebrate his life with balloons, stuffed animals and photos; sharing memories of a child gone too soon.

“He was just loving. He was a very sweet child. It was the word I got from everyone when they spoke of him. ‘He’s so sweet. He’s so loving. He was an outside person. He liked to play a lot. He was a chunky lil thing. He liked to eat a lot.’ Overall, he had a beautiful heart. He would give you the shirt off his back,” Deaunta’s mother, Cuadine Swatt said.

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When deputies arrived, they found White suffering from multiple injuries.

He was rushed to a hospital, where he later died, just one day after his 6th birthday party.

“Oh, they had fun. The whole neighborhood showed up. They had a little jumping bag right here and it was full the whole time. It went on for hours. We had the little radio out. Gave them little snakes. So many little kids came out we had to push the table back for them to fit for them to sing happy birthday to him,” Swatt said.

The family is still trying to come to grips with what happened, and they say their neighbors are helping.

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“I’m not going to lie. It’s really nice. I like how people come around for my brother. They put teddy bears and write my little brother’s name saying, ‘God loved Deaunta,’ and it really brings me joy to my heart seeing everybody out here loving my little brother,” White’s brother, Deangelo White said.

Neighbors are also calling on the parish to do whatever it takes ensure something like this never happens again.

  • (WGNO/Rick Gogreve)
    (WGNO/Rick Gogreve)
  • Napoleon Espino (Courtesy: St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office)
    Napoleon Espino (Courtesy: St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office)

“Like I said, speed bumps, school zone signs or whatever. Something needs to be done or whatever. We spoke to the city on multiple occasions or whatever you know. Several neighbors have spoken with the city or whatever and nothing has been done about it and it’s sad about it or whatever. Something’s going to be done about it now but it’s sad that it had to come to this point for something to be done about it,” White’s uncle, Donald Williams said.

During the course of the investigation, deputies were able to link the truck that hit White to 41-year-old Napoleon Espino, who is now in custody.

He is booked with hit-and-run causing death or serious bodily injury.

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