On the night of January 12, an SUV crashed into the Sea Cave arcade in New Orleans. The vehicle damaged the front of the building, crashing through a wall and allegedly smashing into two people who were inside near the front of the arcade at the time. One person was hospitalized as a result of the crash. This incident follows a different but also terrible act of destruction that took place inside the arcade last month, when a man with an ax allegedly smashed windows and arcade machines in two separate incidents.
As reported by WDSU news and local reporter Shay O’Connor, last night an SUV crashed into the front of the arcade. According to a Facebook post on the Sea Cave’s official page, the crash happened around 8 p.m. CST. That post also shares more details about the crash, including information about the folks behind the wheel of the vehicle. According to the Sea Cave, the SUV was stolen and full of teenagers. After the crash, the driver apparently jumped out of the car, leaving it in drive and ditching his fellow hooligans. The other teenagers scattered as police pursued the driver and passengers.
Unfortunately, according to the Sea Cave Facebook page, the car crashed through the front wall and into two people: Judah Lea, the co-owner of the arcade, and a new employee who for privacy reasons is only referred to as Goat. According to Lea, Goat was sent to a local hospital where he is currently recovering from his injuries. Kotaku has contacted the Sea Cave about the injured employee and any updates on the suspects and police investigation.
The Sea Cave owner clarified in the Facebook post that this crash is “completely unrelated” to the multiple violent attacks that the arcade suffered last month. On December 12, a former customer wielding a large ax allegedly locked the arcade’s front doors with a bicycle lock, trapping customers and employees inside. Then he started smashing windows as folks trapped inside escaped out the back. After police arrived too late, allowing the man to escape, the attacker returned later that same night and was reportedly seen smashing arcade machines via security cameras. Once again, police arrived too late, letting the attacker destroy every monitor, arcade machine, television, and window in the Sea Cave. Lea estimated the damage to be between $US30,000 ($41,103) and $US50,000 ($68,505).
After all this, the man allegedly returned one final time with a handgun and threatened employees trying to clean up his destruction. Police arrested him after this incident, and he was later identified as 30-year-old Mitchell S. McNeely IV. As reported by NOLA, McNeely was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple criminal damage to property, criminal mischief, and false imprisonment.
Following last night’s SUV crash and the violent attack by McNeely last month, the Sea Cave will be setting up more fundraisers to help repair the new damage and to assist employees and their families affected by all this trauma and destruction. The arcade will remain closed to allow everyone some time to recover and to work on rebuilding the arcade.
“This ain’t the end for us, we will be back again,” explained Sea Cave co-owner Judah Lea on Facebook. “Goat we will be back and we [are] hell bent once again on making sure that everything is not only OK but better, because honestly we don’t know how else to come back from this.”