Woman accused of fleeing crash scene faces other charges after drugs reportedly found in young daughter's system

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A woman arrested in connection with a hit and run crash also faces several other charges after drugs were found in her young daughter's system, according to investigators.

Louisiana State Police reported Meagen Banai, 30, of Baton Rouge, was arrested Friday as part of an investigation into a hit and run crash that happened in Ascension Parish around 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2017.

Senior Tpr. Bryan Lee with LSP Troop A said the wreck happened on LA 44 south of LA 22. He explained troopers found a 2017 Hyundai Sonata abandoned in a pond a homeowner's yard near the highway. He added investigators determined the car had veered off the road, crossed several driveways, and hit a portable toilet before going into the pond.

According to Lee, troopers determined the driver, later identified as Banai, was wearing a seat belt, but the front passenger, later learned to be Banai's 8-year-old daughter, was not. He added investigators found drug paraphernalia and other items inside the car "which led them to believe that Banai was the driver." Lee said when troopers contacted the registered owner of the car, they were told she didn't have permission to be driving it.

Lee reported troopers received information two days after the crash confirming Banai was driving the car at the time of the crash.

"Banai's daughter complained of being injured during the crash and Banai did not take her to receive medical attention," Lee stated in a written report. "A family member picked the child up after learning that she was injured and took her to the hospital for treatment."

Lee added troopers later learned the child tested positive for cocaine and Benzodiazepine, which he explained is commonly found in Xanax.

Lee said an arrest warrant was issued for Banai on Oct. 18, 2017 and she was arrested two days later at a home in Denham Springs. He added cocaine and drug paraphernalia was found on her at the time. Lee reported Banai was taken to the Livingston Parish Detention Center and booked as a fugitive, but was later taken to the hospital for treatment due to her condition. Lee said she tried escaping while at the hospital but was unsuccessful.

According to Lee, Banai was released from the hospital on Oct. 22, 2017 and booked into the Ascension Parish Jail on the following charges:

  • Hit and run driving
  • Careless operation
  • Operating a vehicle while license is suspended
  • No child passenger restraint
  • Negligent injuring
  • Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle
  • Possession with intent to distribute schedule IV CDS
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Second-degree cruelty to juvenile
  • Simple escape

Lee said the Denham Springs Police Department will also charge Banai with possession of Schedule II CDS and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officers with DSPD were credited with helping make the arrest.

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