A Burke High graduate was killed in New Orleans early on New Year’s Day after being hit by a vehicle and dragged more than six miles.

Josh Woodruff, 28, was hit about 3 a.m. in the city’s French Quarter. Witnesses told New Orleans police that a black sedan with tinted windows struck the man and drove off.

Woodruff, a Harvard University graduate, had been working as director of customer strategy for startup company Soylent in Los Angeles.

He was in New Orleans with a friend to celebrate the New Year and was hailing an Uber early Friday when he was hit by a different car, Woodruff’s sister Heather Grizzle said.

Before going out, he texted his family: “I just want you to know how thankful I am for you,” said his mother, Caren Woodruff.

Officer Garry Flot, a New Orleans Police Department spokesman, said in an email that police don’t have further leads on the car or driver. Officials posted surveillance video photos of the four-door black sedan on Facebook, asking for tips from the public.

Grizzle said the family wants the driver to be found so no one else is hurt or killed.

“Not because justice will bring Josh back,” she said. “Because we hope this person won’t make another family suffer the way we are.”

Hundreds of memories and photos have flooded a Facebook page created to remember Woodruff. Friends wrote that he was an uplifting person who made everyone laugh but also cared about having deep conversations.

“His goal was to bring out the best in everybody — that everybody would be dedicated to be the best of themselves,” his mother said. “He was very passionate that he understood and other people understood their destiny that God had designed for them.”

Moments before he died, Woodruff was talking about God’s plan for people’s lives, his family said.

“He was the best at getting people to talk about what was really on their heart,” Grizzle said. “He was just universally loved and likable.”

Other survivors include his brother, Ben, and father, Mark Woodruff.

The funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Lifegate Church at 15555 West Dodge Road.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1068, alia.conley@owh.com

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