Parents know that they can’t protect their children every moment of the day. As kids grow up and start spreading their wings, parents try to give them guidance to keep them safe, while also trusting that other adults such as teachers, neighbors and other parents will contribute to a safe environment.
The trial of a man involved in a tragic motor vehicle accident that killed a 6-year-old boy in Watson has just concluded in Livingston Parish. One day in 2012, the young boy fell off his scooter in the neighbor’s driveway just as the neighbor was returning home in his truck. The man ran over the child, killing him.
He admitted to police that he had been drinking wine before going to pick up his daughter. He also said that he had been talking on his cellphone as he turned into his driveway. Police took a blood alcohol reading three and then four hours after the accident. The readings were lower than Louisiana’s legal driving limit of 0.08.
In a court room filled with supporters of the parents of the victim as well as the accused, much court time was spent extrapolating whether the driver would have been over the limit at the time he drove over the boy. Based on the probable time the man consumed the alcohol, experts on both sides came to different conclusions. A witness for the state reconstructed the accident scene and testified that the driver would probably have had no more than five seconds to see the boy, and wouldn’t have seen him through the windshield but only through the side window.
The judge ruled that there was reasonable doubt that alcohol impairment prevented the driver from noticing the boy lying in his driveway, and declared him not guilty of negligent homicide.
Fortunately for the bereaved family, who are left shaking their heads at the verdict, the legal system allows for someone acquitted by the court to be held accountable for their actions in a civil claim. Despite the not-guilty ruling, another judge could possibly still conclude that the man at least played a role in the boy’s wrongful death, and order him to pay financial compensation to the parents.
Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, “Denham Springs man Brad Welch declared not guilty of negligently killing 6-year-old Tyler Myers,” Emily Lane, March 28, 2014