According to The Advocate, a state appellate court reduced a man’s vehicular homicide conviction to negligent homicide earlier this month. The 35-year-old man received the original conviction and corresponding eight-year prison sentence in 2014 for the role he played in a 2011 collision that resulted in five fatalities.
Prosecutors, trial witnesses, and State Police claim the man was engaged in a high-speed “cat and mouse” game with another motorist, a 28-year-old woman, on Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge when he lost control of his truck. The vehicle spun out of control, crossed the median, and crashed into a car.
The car burst into flames, killing all five people inside, who ranged in age from 3 to 29. The man who had been driving the truck was originally convicted of five counts of vehicular homicide because his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was allegedly above the legal limit when the accident occurred; however, a three-judge panel threw out the sentence this month after determining that although there was evidence of the man’s impairment, there was no evidence that it contributed to the crash.
In order for a defendant to receive a conviction of vehicular homicide, there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that intoxication was a contributing factor of the collision. For this reason, the 1st Circuit ruled that the man was instead guilty of five counts of negligent homicide, which has less severe penalties.
If you lost a loved one in an accident with an impaired motorist, contact Laborde Earles Law Firm. Our team of award-winning attorneys is relentless when it comes to holding reckless drivers financially accountable for their actions. Call 800-522-6733 to schedule a free case evaluation with an auto accident attorney in Alexandria.
In What Kinds of Scenarios Does Vehicular Homicide Apply?
Every state has its own metrics for categorizing auto accidents that involve impaired motorists, and the case mentioned above forced judges in Louisiana to examine their own laws. After evaluating the circumstances of the incident, the 1st Circuit determined that the state’s vehicular homicide law is not aimed at motorists whose alcohol consumption merely coincides with a fatal crash. Rather, it was implemented to curb traffic fatalities that are the direct result of impairment.
In this instance, the motorist’s BAC was allegedly 0.10 after the collision, and the jury originally determined that his impairment affected his ability to make sound decisions while behind the wheel. The 1st Circuit panel, on the other hand, reached the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence the man’s intoxicated state contributed to the accident more than his reckless driving did.
If your loved one died from injuries sustained in a crash with a drunk driver, you have the right to pursue compensation regardless of any simultaneous criminal proceedings. To discuss your case with a car wreck lawyer in Alexandria, contact Laborde Earles Law Firm. Call 800-522-6733 to schedule a free consultation.