PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Authorities said a teen helping a friend with car trouble died after getting hit by a suspected drunk driver late Tuesday night.
Louisiana State Police reported Richard Billingsley Jr., 18, of Prairieville, was killed in the crash. 41-year-old J. Thomas Bowers, of Baton Rouge, was arrested on DWI, vehicular homicide and other charges.
Troopers reported the crash happened on LA 42 west of LA 44 near Prairieville a little after 11 p.m.
Tpr. Bryan Lee with LSP said the initial investigation showed Ambar Hicks, 20, of Prairieville, was driving eastbound on LA 42 in a 2005 Mazda Tribute and Billingsley was a passenger when the SUV broke down on them. He added Hicks turned on the hazard flashers on the vehicle and steered it while Billingsley pushed it off the highway.
According to Lee, Bowers was also headed eastbound on LA 42 and hit Billingsley as he was pushing the SUV. Lee said Billingsley was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ascension Parish Coroner's Office. He added Hicks suffered minor injuries and was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Prairieville. The pair is not suspected of being impaired at the time of the wreck, but blood samples were taken per protocol for deadly crashes on Louisiana highways.
Lee also said despite not wearing a seatbelt, Bowers was not hurt in any way in the crash. He added investigators believe he was impaired and speeding when Billingsley was hit. Troopers said Bowers refused to take a breath test, but he was sent to St. Elizabeth, where a blood sample was taken. All of the blood samples were sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
Bowers was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail on the following charges:
- Driving while intoxicated (2nd offense)
- Vehicular homicide
- Vehicular negligent injuring
- Reckless operation
- Open container
- No seatbelt
The investigation into the deadly crash is ongoing.