RPSO deputy accused in hit and run that leaves one dead

By EverythingCenla

Rapides Parish Sheriff’s deputy Marvin Thomas, 40, of 6333 Deerfield Drive in Alexandria was arrested Tuesday afternoon after the vehicle he was driving early Tuesday morning struck a pedestrian near the intersection of Lee Street and Industrial Drive, according to the Alexandria Police.

Acadian Ambulance pronounced the pedestrian, whose identity has not been released, dead at the scene about 12:39 a.m., the police reports.

Thomas is accused of having his wife confess that she was driving a 2004 Nissan Altima at the time of the accident. He allegedly told her to make the confession because he had been drinking and that he didn’t want to get in trouble with his job since he was already on probation.

The wife allegedly later said it was her husband who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.

The report indicates that the pedestrian didn’t die from the impact of the vehicle hitting him.

A second vehicle, driven by Kendrick Hunter, 22, of 2509 Culpepper Drive, Apt. 88, ran over the pedestrian as he was being attended to by witnesses of the first impact.

Thomas was booked into the Rapides Parish Jail on charges of felony hit and
run and obstruction of justice.

Hunter was charged with one count of felony hit and run.

Pitkin woman killed as vehicle crashes into tree

VERNON PARISH – On Friday, July 16, 2010, at 12:09 a.m., Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a single-vehicle crash on LA 10, mile post 26.6. Preliminary investigation revealed Stacy Weldon, 33, of Pitkin, was driving east in a 2004 GMC Envoy. The vehicle exited the roadway and impacted a tree on the passenger side. The vehicle then rotated and vaulted after impact with the tree and traveled an additional 50 feet before striking a group of trees on the driver’s side.

Weldon was pronounced dead at the scene. Routine toxicology test results are pending and the crash remains under investigation.

Troop E troopers have investigated 34 fatal crashes for the year of 2010, resulting in 39 fatalities.

Pineville man killed in Avoyelles Parish crash

On Thursday, July 15, at 9:35 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a single-vehicle crash on LA 454, mile post 9.7. Preliminary investigation revealed the driver, Robert Gibson Loudin, 39, of Pineville, was traveling west when he lost control of the 1988 Ford pick-up he was driving. The vehicle exited the roadway, re-entered the roadway, and then overturned several times. The vehicle continued traveling on its roof, again left the roadway, then impacted a tree on the passenger side.

Loudin, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene. Routine toxicology test results are pending and the crash remains under investigation.

Troop E troopers have investigated 33 fatal crashes for the year of 2010, resulting in 38 fatalities.

Alexandria man drowns in hotel swimming pool

By Everything Cenla staff

Jerry Woodley, 33, 250 Browns Bend Rd., #3, drowned Thursday afternoon in a swimming pool at Select Inn Motel, 2300 MacArthur Drive, according to Alexandria Police.

When officers arrived, Acadian Ambulance’s medic personnel were performing CPR on Woodley, who was near the deep end of the pool.

Witnesses told police Woodley was swimming near the deep end when they noticed Woodley had stopped in the water between the surface and bottom of the pool. One witness said she got up and noticed Woodley was not moving then reached down in the pool to grab him. She pulled him up and noticed he was not conscious. Both witnesses tried to perform CPR as another was calling for help.

The witnesses said they didn’t know Woodley, who was at the motel with his mother and wife, Sandra, for his daughter’s pool party. The women had gone inside of the motel room to get some ear plugs. They told police when they returned about two minutes later they saw the witnesses near the pool performing CPR on Woodley.

Acadian Ambulance took Woodley to Christus St. Francis Cabrini Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Foul play is not suspected.

2-year-old Simmsport girl killed in car crash; speed, alcohol suspected factors

By EverythingCenla

A 2-year-old Simmsport girl is dead as the result of a single-vehicle accident in which police suspect speed and alcohol were factors that led to the crash Wednesday morning in Pointe Coupee Parish, according to Louisiana State Police Troop A.

The Pointe Coupee Parish Coroner’s Office pronounced Keondre Edwards dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred shortly after 7 a.m. on Louisiana Highway 1 south of Louisiana 18. A second child sustained moderate injuries and was taken to Avoyelles General Hospital.

An investigation indicates Ashley Jones, 25, of Simmsport was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Impala north on Highway 1 when she entered a left-hand curve and ran off of the road to the right. Upon exiting the curve, the vehicle travelled through a ditch and began to roll over, ejecting the children, who were not restrained in their seats. Jones was also treated at Avoyelles General Hospital.

The children were in the back seat of the Impala. They were not in child safety seats or buckled in the back seat.

Troopers suspect that both alcohol and speed were factors in the crash. Troopers have submitted a sample of Jones’ blood to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for chemical analysis. Currently, Jones is charged with careless operation and two counts of failure to restrain a child. More charges may follow, pending the outcome of toxicology tests being performed on Jones’ blood.

Meanwhile, State police said it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that every child under the age of 13 is properly secured in the vehicle. Both the children involved in this crash should have been restrained in forward-facing child safety seats.

Drunken drivers and lack of seat belt and child restraint use account for the majority of fatal crashes in Louisiana every year. There is never a good reason for an impaired person to get behind the wheel of an automobile.

While seat belt and child restraint use is on the rise in Louisiana, there is still a lot of work to be done. Troopers will continue to aggressively enforce Louisiana’s passenger restraint laws and DWI laws to ensure the public’s safety.

In addition, Louisiana State Police Troop A serves as a grant-funded Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Fitting Station, where Troopers inspect and install car seats for individuals at no charge. The Troopers are Certified CPS Technicians through the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Training Program.

This program is run by the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force. Troopers at Troop A are available to inspect and install child safety seats on Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Anyone needing assistance with the inspection or installation of a car seat is encouraged to come in and meet with a CPS Technician. There are also programs available to those individuals who may not be able to afford a child safety seat.

Alexandria native Sonja Pullen, son drown in home swimming pool Tuesday

Alexandria native Sonja Pullen Anderson of Baton Rouge and her 2-year-old son, Jonathan, died Tuesday, May 25, as the result of a drowning in a swimming pool in the back yard of their Baton Rouge home, according to published reports.

Anderson was the wife of Johnny Anderson, former chairman of the Southern University System Board of Supervisors.

Johnny Anderson released the following statement:

“My son Jonah and I want to thank the community for their prayers and the incredible expression of  support in our grief stricken dawn following yesterday’s tragedy. We also want to thank the emergency responders, doctors and nurses who worked to save my wife, Sonja, and our son, Jonathan.

Sonja was the light of my life. Her world was filled with caring for our 2-year-old twin boys Jonathan and Jonah. Her actions yesterday were a true testament to a mother’s love. Jonathan was a happy and outgoing little boy with unlimited potential.

While my heart is broken, I will lean on my faith in God and devote myself fully to the care of our son Jonah. We ask for continued prayers and privacy during this difficult time.”

Funeral arrangements have not been made at this time.

Pineville homicide victim called joyful person, proud grandmother

By Bill Sumrall
EverythingCenla

PINEVILLE — The peace of a racially diverse neighborhood here was shattered by a drive-by shooting Tuesday night that left a mother and grandmother dead.

Annette Harris, 36, of 531 Lakeview St., was fatally wounded in the head late Tuesday night, May 11, making her Pineville’s first homicide victim since 1999.

Police arrested Jeremy Carlton Kirk Sr., 17, of 110 Nora St. Pineville. He was charged with first-degree murder and resisting an officer. A 16-year-old juvenile was also arrested and charged with accessory after the fact of first-degree murder.

Demarcus Kieel, 19, who said he’d been the dead woman’s fiance also living at 531 Lakeview, talked with EverythingCenla outside the house Thursday, May 13.

“She liked making people happy, liked making them laugh,” Kieel said. “She was a joyful person.”

Kieel said he and Harris had been together for a year and two months but wished she hadn’t died.

“I wish that it wouldn’t, just really, just happen like this but it happened like this, so I’ve got to accept it, and I love her from the bottom of my heart,” Kieel said.

“I’m going to always love her. She’s going to always have a spot in my heart regardless, no matter what, what,” Kieel said, stumbling over some of his words slightly as he continued, “what I go through, at all times.”

Kieel said Harris was a Pineville native who had a 12-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter who live in Arkansas and whom he was still trying to notify about their mother’s death.

Harris also had a grandchild who she was “very much excited” about caring for, Kieel said.

“She took care of that baby every single day. Every time she went to sleep, she’d wake up, feeding the baby, changing the baby and everything, just like a grandmother’s supposed to do,” Kieel said.

“Wherever she basically went, she really just took the baby with her and stuff. She wanted to see the baby grow up, and, you know what I’m saying, be there for the baby and help her daughter with her child and stuff like that,” Kieel said.

Kieel said Harris worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA, worked at Crossroads a couple of months and talked about returning to school to become a Registered Nurse or RN.

“But …,” Kieel said, his voice trailing off.

Harris liked having fun with her kids, taking them places and doing things as a family and also “she liked partying, liked listening to music, liked watching movies and stuff,” Kieel said.

Funeral arrangements are still in the process of being arranged, Kieel said.

Kieel added that a previously published report was incorrect about the unnamed 16-year-old juvenile arrested by police and charged in connection with the shooting.

“They have the wrong suspect. They have one person that wasn’t involved in the situation,” Kieel said, referring to the unnamed 16-year-old juvenile.

“That’s one of my friends, one of my close, close friends …,” Kieel said, pausing as two women standing nearby who had been helping Kieel with cleaning the house indicated caution to Kieel about naming the juvenile.

“He was not one of the ones that was in the car and was not one of the ones that was shooting at all. The only one I know that was shooting was Jeremy Kirk,” Kieel said, who added he intends to let police know about this.

Outside the house Thursday too was Charles McCawley, who said he was previously misidentified in published reports as the landlord but only manages the property for relatives and does not own it.

“As far as I know, she (Harris) was a good person, she was friendly, she just had her first grand-baby,” McCawley said.

“She was very proud of her little grandbaby and all that, and we’ve never had no trouble out of her or her husband or her two kids or anything,” McCawley said.

McCawley clarified he was referring to Kieel as husband to Harris.

“She was just an easy-going person, you know, and very proud of that first grandbaby of hers,” McCawley said.

McCawley said the neighborhood is racially diverse, with residents who are black, white, Cambodian, Hispanic and Vietnamese.

“Usually everybody gets along fine,” McCawley said.

The shooting “shocked so many people because this is a very nice neighborhood,” McCawley added.
Veronica Hawkins, 49, standing in the doorway of 533 Lakeview Street, agreed.
“It just really shocked me — I walk up and down here all the time,” said Hawkins, who lives in the house next door to where Harris resided.

Hawkins said she moved here from Michigan, and that her husband called 911 when he heard the shot. She described the neighborhood as racially diverse and peaceful, but had not lived there long enough to know Harris.

“I did not know her personally,” Veronica Hawkins said, but noted she saw people walking all the time on Lakeview to exercise, go to the store or ride bicycles.

Hawkins added she thought there were legal ways of settling an alleged dispute about a vehicle which she’d learned reportedly triggered the drive-by shooting.

In her opinion, the 17-year-old accused in the shooting “just threw away his life,” Hawkins said.