On October 17, 2014, a Baton Rouge jury convicted Joseph Branch of vehicular homicide and first-degree vehicular negligent injuring relating to a fatal Louisiana bicycle accident that happened in 2012.
After being at a bar, Branch rear-ended two cyclists on Perkins Road in Baton Rouge. Bike rider Nathan Crowson lost his life and Crowson’s fellow rider, Danny Morris, was badly injured. He suffered a broken pelvis, nerve damage, and other injuries and has had several surgeries.
Evidence showed that Branch had a blood alcohol content of 0.307 at the time of the crash, nearly 4 times Louisiana’s legal limit of 0.08. Witnesses also testified that Branch was speeding just before the crash and that the impact was severe enough that one rider flew over Branch’s vehicle after being hit.
Branch’s counsel argued that the bike riders were responsible for the accident. The riders were wearing dark clothing and riding on a four-lane highway on poorly-lit bikes. Marijuana was also detected in the bodies of the bike riders after the crash.
Despite this evidence, it took only one hour or the jury to find Branch guilty.
Vehicular homicide is punishable by 5 to 30 years in jail, and first-degree vehicular negligent injuring is punishable by up to 5 years in jail.
Fatal Louisiana Bicycle Accidents Continue
Millions of dollars have been spent to make Louisiana more bike friendly. And, Louisiana has a number of laws that protect bike riders from harm.
But, even with these protections, tragic bicycle accidents continue.
In April of this year, a bike rider was killed in New Iberia when he was struck by a SUV while attempting to cross the street and an Atlanta firefighter was killed in New Orleans after his bike was struck from behind by a vehicle. Then, in July, another New Orleans bicycle rider was killed when a tractor-trailer truck made a wide right turn in front of him.
These bike accidents show the dangers that cyclists face on the roads every day.
If a driver violates the laws that protect bike riders (such as leaving 3 feet of clearance when passing), it makes it much easier to show that the driver caused the accident. This is important not only for criminal cases, but also for personal injury lawsuits. Breaking the law can provide strong evidence of negligence.
New Orleans Bicycle Accident Attorney
I understand the laws that protect Louisiana bicycle riders and am here to help. If you or a loved one has been involved in a Louisiana bicycle accident , call a New Orleans personal injury attorney at (504) 564-7342 so we can talk about what happened and start getting you the help you need. Additionally, if you’ve been involved in a hit and run acciddent, speak with a hit and run lawyer to discuss the details of your case today.