In Louisiana and elsewhere driving drunk with children in the vehicle is a particularly heinous offense that the courts and law enforcement agencies seek to penalize strictly. When a child dies in a drunk driving accident that is charged as vehicular homicide, the accused will face a stiff sentence of imprisonment if convicted. In a fatal accident that occurred on Sept. 15 state police arrested a 27-year-old man for vehicular homicide, first offense DWI and related offenses. Tragically, a 2-year-old child died as a result of the accident.
The Louisiana State Police say that the collision occurred on La. 70 near La. 3120 in Ascension Parish. They allege that the accused was driving east on La. 3120 when he ran a stop sign while driving a pickup truck and drove into the path of another pickup that was being operated in a southerly direction on La. 70. There were three children and one additional adult in the alleged offender's vehicle, according to police.
The authorities allege that neither the adults nor the children were seat belted. None of the children were in car seats. Police took a Breathalyzer test of the accused at the Ascension Parish Jail and allege results of .103 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). It is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or above in Louisiana. The decedent suffered critical injuries and died after being taken to a local hospital. The other two children in the vehicle also suffered serious injuries, with one of them being critically injured.
While a first offense DWI charge does not necessarily mandate imprisonment, a conviction of the vehicular homicide charge in Louisiana can carry a sentence of imprisonment from three to 30 years. There is a minimum sentence of five years if the accused had a BAC of .15% or more and at least one prior conviction for drunk driving. If the accused in this case is convicted of the charged crimes, he may qualify for a sentence of from three to five years depending on the court's determination of the factors involved.