BRPD Officer on leave after crashing into LSU Lakes
BATON ROUGE - The Baton Rouge Police Department has an internal investigation underway against a rookie police officer who crashed his unit into the LSU Lakes. Multiple sources told Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto that the officer had just left a bar and was drinking before the crash.
Baton Rouge Police identified the officer as Byron Boudreaux. The crash happened near East Lakeshore Drive and Cedardale Drive in the early morning hours of Sept. 11.
The officer wasn't alone at the time of the wreck: a woman he met at the bar told News 2 in an exclusive interview that she was in the front seat of the police cruiser. She asked to go for a ride, and he agreed.
"I thought I was going to die," said the woman, who asked she be identified as 'Betty Sue'.
She has the bruises on her body to prove she was involved in the wreck. She says they were cruising around after meeting a local bar where she saw the officer drinking.
"I only saw him have one beer," Betty Sue said.
Now, the investigation is at the center of controversy after the officer drove his cruiser with a civilian around for an apparent joyride. You can see grass from the LSU Lakes is still jammed into crevices of the car. Mud is caked near the police lights, above the cracked windshield where Betty Sue and Officer Boudreaux managed to swim to safety. Betty Sue remembers the moments leading up to the crash vividly.
"He was driving really really fast," Betty Sue said. "We almost hit another car, and then he was speeding, lost control around a turn and slid off. Right when he slid off that's when the car flipped this way."
Deep craters in the dirt around the LSU Lakes marks the spot where Officer Boudreaux lost control. Betty Sue said he was worried about what was going to happen to him.
"Oh no. No. What am I gonna do, freaking out kind of," Betty Sue recalls. "All of this while I'm still stuck in the lake."
The Baton Rouge Police Department declined to do an on-camera interview about this open investigation. They would only say that Officer Boudreaux is on paid administrative leave during the investigation, and that it is against procedures for an officer to drink and then drive a police unit.
"He is a police officer," Betty Sue said. "He should have known better."
We asked if it appeared he was given special treatment since he was a police officer.
"It kind of seems that way," Betty Sue said. "From what I've heard, they brought him home afterwards."
Right now, Baton Rouge Police will not reveal whether Officer Boudreaux was given a drug test or a breath test after the crash. A department spokesman said that it is standard procedure to do that after wrecks.
Tonight Betty Sue questions why police haven't bothered to take her statement. She also wonders whether the situation would be handled in the same manner if it happened to someone else.
"I think it's most concerning the fact of the matter if it was a regular person who did this, I think they would have gone straight to jail," Betty Sue said.
Betty Sue has not ruled out legal action against the Baton Rouge Police Department. We've learned tonight that Officer Boudreaux has been with the Baton Rouge Police Department for two years. It's unclear how long the investigation will take.