Tragic Louisiana Accident Leaves Many Confused as to Why This Driver Was Charged With Vehicular Homicide
A fatal two-vehicle crash over the weekend has led to a viral debate on social media.
According to Louisiana State Police, an accident in the early Sunday morning hours claimed the life of 22-year-old Summer McKinnon of Walker, LA.
State police say the accident happened on LA 30 (Nicholson Drive) near the LA 327 Spur (Gardere Lane) when, "for reasons still being investigated," McKinnon's 2021 Honda Accord crossed the median, entered the opposing lane, and struck a 2019 Audi Q8 being driven by 35-year-old Chenna Nalabolu of Baton Rouge, LA.
The news release says that McKinnon hit the Audi "head-on" and was transported to a local area hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries. She was not restrained at the time of the crash.
Nalabolu was properly restrained and did not suffer any injuries as a result of the accident. However, he did submit to a chemical breath test which yielded results (.087) that were just barely over the legal limit (.08). He was subsequently arrested and charged with Vehicular Homicide.
According to Louisiana law, anyone who "causes or contributes to the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs" can be charged with vehicular homicide.
One key part of the law states that a driver can be charged with vehicular homicide in Louisiana "even if he or she had no intention of injuring or killing the victim"—which seems to be what led to the arrest of Nalabolu in the aforementioned two-vehicle crash.
While Nalabolu's arrest was warranted by the letter of the law, there has been a lot of discussion and debate on whether or not he deserved to be charged with Vehicular Homicide in a crash that wasn't necessarily his fault based on the initial reports from Louisiana State Police.
One commenter made it clear that he was not supporting drunk driving, but felt like Nalabolu's intoxication didn't contribute to her death. The comment was one of the most liked in the entire conversation.
There were others who argued that he may have been able to avoid the accident if he wasn't driving while impaired. Others pointed out that the law is "the LAW."
Another user suggested that a good attorney could possibly help his case and that this situation was an example of how "horrible" our laws are here in Louisiana.
Others pointed out that the situation was tragic enough given the fact that someone lost their life as a result. One commenter suggested that Mothers Against Drunk Driving has a lot to do with how this particular law reads.
Then there were some who pointed out why driving under the influence is such a risky move.
As someone mentioned in the comments above, we should keep in mind that while it has been determined that Nalabolu was not at any fault for the accident, this is only the initial investigation and things could change as more information becomes confirmed and available.
In Louisiana, the penalty for Vehicular Homicide can include fines of up to $15,000 and anywhere from five to 30 years in prison. In addition to those potential max penalties, the law states that "at least three years of the driver’s prison term must be imposed without the option of probation, parole or suspended sentencing."
It's also important to keep in mind that while many are debating the details of this tragic incident, there are families in pain on both sides of this horrific incident.
Our thoughts are with all who are involved.