Man sentenced in Louisiana fatal accident withdraws plea

A man who has already stood trial and was sentenced has been permitted by the court to withdrawal his guilty plea. The trial involved a 2013 fatal accident in Louisiana that took the lives of two passengers in a vehicle driven by a man who was then charged with vehicular homicide. In a rather uncommon turn of events, a judge recently allowed the man to withdraw his guilty plea and has granted him a new trial.

The accident took place two years ago, when the 37-year-old man was said to have steered the vehicle he was driving across the center lines of traffic. A 42-year-old female passenger in the front seat reportedly grabbed the wheel to correct the steering in an effort to avoid a sudden collision with a tractor trailer. The vehicle then veered off to the right and crashed into a tree on the roadside. Sadly, the woman and another passenger in the back seat were pronounced dead at the scene.

Three other people involved in the crash were taken to a nearby medical facility  for treatment of minor injuries. Police say that the driver’s speech was slurred and that his blood alcohol level tested at .102 at the time of the accident. An attorney representing the man stated that his client was not fully informed that because of the way the law was written at the time, he would have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before being considered for parole.He was sentenced to two concurrent 20-year prison terms.

A judge has since allowed the man to withdraw his guilty plea on the grounds advanced by his attorney. He will now stand a new trial and is being held in jail on a $350,000 bond. Louisiana law protects the rights of injured victims and family members of those killed in a fatal accident to file a legal claim against the party or parties believed to have been at fault. Loss of life is irreplaceable, but compensation awarded for damages in a successfully litigated claim can help to alleviate the undue financial stresses typically incurred in the aftermath of an accident.

Source:, “Driver gets new trial in 2013 crash that killed two“, Bridget Mire, April 6, 2015