BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A candlelight vigil is planned Thursday evening for the seven victims of a drunk driving crash in Slaughter, LA.
Friends and family will gather on the steps of the Louisiana Capitol at 7 p.m. for the vigil. It will be followed by a short walk to the levee. It has been one year since the tragedy.
Grandmother Brenda Gaines was driving her daughter, Denise Gaines, and Denise's four children, Diamond Johnson, Jyran Johnson, Willie Gaines and Rogerick Johnson, Jr. Also in the vehicle was a fellow church member Angela Mosley.
The group killed in the crash was headed back to Baton Rouge from a bible study in Clinton on May 30, 2012. Brenda, Denise, Diamond, Jyran and Angela were all killed instantly in the crash. Willie Gaines was taken off life support June 3, 2012. His family decided to donate his organs. Rogerick Johnson, 13, was later taken off life support and also died.
Investigators believe Brett Gerald was out celebrating his 30th birthday and was under the influence of alcohol.
In the police report, police say Gerald admitted to drinking beer for several hours before he got behind the wheel of his vehicle. According to the crash report prepared by Louisiana State Police, Trooper Sam Lorio took a blood sample from Brett Gerald two and a half hours after the crash.
After testing his blood alcohol content, police said Gerald's BAC was .15g percent, which is nearly twice the legal limit of .08g percent.
Gerald pleaded guilty to driving drunk and killing the seven people. He was sentenced to 70 years originally, but the judge cut it in half and his new sentence was for 35 years in prison. He must serve 85 percent of the new sentence, which means almost 29 years and 9 months.