Woman charged with murder in fatal hit-and-run of French Quarter tourist

(Photo: Surveillance video footage circulated by NOPD following the French Quarter hit-and-run on March 16.)
New Orleans district attorney officials earlier this month indicted a woman accused of deliberately hitting and killing a tourist with her car in a French Quarter hit-and-run incident last March.

The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office charged Asrielle Wise, 26, with second-degree murder and obstructing justice in a homicide investigation in a two-count indictment handed down by an Orleans Parish grand jury on Sept. 3, according to spokesman Ken Daley.

Wise is innocent until proven guilty of the charges, but faces a mandatory lifetime prison sentence if found guilty of the murder charge and up to 40 years if convicted on the obstruction count.

Wise allegedly struck and killed 55-year-old Amber Mello, of Massachusetts, with her gray 2010 Hyundai Sonata shortly after midnight in the 700 block of St. Louis Street on March 16. Mello was a physician assistant from Massachusetts visiting the city with her husband and friends.

The incident was preceded by an alleged near miss by Wise’s car several seconds earlier and sparked an argument with Mello in which Wise threw an object at the group.

Asrielle Wise | Graphic courtesy of Eric T. Styles.

Witnesses and surveillance video images showed Mello’s husband punching Wise and the altercation was broken up by Mello, who directed her group back to the sidewalk, according to Daley.

Wise got back in her car, allegedly put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated backwards, crushing Mellow between her car and a car behind Wise’s.

Surveillance video showed Wise accelerating backwards so fast, the rear bumper, wheels and undercarriage of her car went on top of the other car’s hood, with Mello underneath, according to Daley.

Wise immediately fled the scene. Mellow died at the scene despite efforts by emergency responders to save her life, Daley added.

A DNA collected from an object Wise threw at Mello matched a sample previously stored in the federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), according to Daley. Was was previously convicted of abuse battery and criminal trespass in 2015, according to officials.

Wise turned herself in to police on March 25 afer police circulated images of the driver in the vehicle involved in the incident and has remained free on $205,000 bond set by Orleans Parish Magistrate Commissioner Jonathan Friedman.