Baton Rouge, LA – A Louisiana State Trooper has recently been suspended 14 weeks without pay for his part in a fatal car accident.
About four months ago the trooper, Christopher R. Kelley, seemingly had gotten off the hook when a grand jury decided to not charge him with negligent homicide in the death of Henry Baise, age 64.
According to USNews.com, although Kelley had been going 111 mph (over twice the posted speed limit) at the time of the fatal car accident, he was not charged with careless operation or speeding. An investigation done by Louisiana Police concluded that liability for the accident fell on Baise because he failed to yield when he turned on U.S. 190 in Lottie.
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, Baise’s family has decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit citing Kelley’s negligence as the cause of the accident in Baton Rouge. The accident attorney for the Baise family, Todd Comeaux, says the grand jury’s decision to not charge the Louisiana trooper with negligent homicide is “shocking.”
The Advocate reports that on the day of the fatal accident, Kelley had been driving his police unit to New Orleans in order to work a Mardi Gras detail. Despite not responding to an emergency call or even being on duty at the time of the accident, the Louisiana Police decided Kelley was driving 111 mph in order to catch up with another state trooper, Michael Satcher.
Kelley had the right of way regardless of how fast over the speed limit he was driving, according to Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton. He says that as Baise pulled out of the gas station and ultimately directly into the pathway of Kelley, he was making an illegal left turn.
However, Baise’s family strongly disagrees. They argue in their wrongful death lawsuit that Baise absolutely did not contribute to the cause of the accident. They also point out that the State Police report found that while his Chevrolet Silverado failed to initially gain traction, his vehicle was only going 22 mph one second before the crash.
Records show that even though Baise was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, he was seriously injured in the collision. He was taken to Pointe Coulee General Hospital and later pronounced dead.
Kelley on the other hand only received moderate injuries. An internal investigation reported that he violated department policy in the fatal accident. He begins his suspension this upcoming Monday, August 21st, and will return to his duties on November 20th.
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