An officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department won’t be prosecuted for a crash two years ago that killed a baby. The district attorney (DA) for East Baton Rouge also announced that the baby’s mother won’t be charged for having her 1-year-old daughter in an unsecured car seat between the two front seats of the SUV they were in.
Authorities say the off-duty officer was driving his Corvette 94 miles per hour (in a 50-mph zone) when he crashed into the SUV. The baby died after being ejected from the vehicle. Others in the SUV, including the baby’s grandmother and a 15-year-old, suffered serious injuries.
The officer was hospitalized, but his precise injuries weren’t reported. After the crash, both the officer and the girl’s mother were arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide.
The DA says the woman has already “punished herself.” He also says that he and his prosecutors don’t believe they can prosecute the officer for negligent homicide or even a lesser charge. He says, “You never want any officer traveling 94 miles an hour. It’s just stupid. It’s dangerous. But when we looked at the law and the facts and the circumstances, we just thought that this was the only reasonable decision to make.”
There were also issues with the SUV’s driver, who reportedly didn’t have a valid license, and the passengers, whom investigators say weren’t wearing seat belts. Further, the SUV may have been carrying more people than it was equipped to.
The attorney for the mother of the child who died has been critical of prosecutors in the case. He says, “He [the police officer] turned a highway into a raceway….And now at the end of the day he literally walks away with nothing.” The statute of limitations for charging the officer with speeding expired shortly before the decision was made not to charge him with anything more serious.
The officer has been taken off paid administrative leave and reassigned to a desk job. He’s facing a civil suit from several people who were in the SUV. He is suing the SUV’s driver, whom he says turned into his lane “without warning.”
Crashes and the injuries suffered as a result often aren’t exclusively one person’s fault. That can make prosecutions challenging. However, those who have suffered injuries or lost a loved one can still seek justice and compensation in civil court.