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State law should have prevented deaths in Slaughter

3 years ago June 04, 2012 Jun 4, 2012 Monday, June 04 2012 Monday, June 04, 2012 3:46:48 PM CDT in Top Story
Source: WBRZ
By: Chris Nakamoto

BATON ROUGE- A law on the books in Louisiana should have forced accused drunk driver Brett Gerald to get an ignition interlock device.

Gerald was arrested last week and re-arrested today after State Troopers say he was involved in a drunk driving crash which resulted in the deaths of six people.

News 2 has learned Gerald was arrested three times for allegedly driving drunk.  One of those arrests was expunged but another resulted in a conviction, and because he was arrested more than once he should have been forced to get an ignition interlock device.  News 2 has learned a judge never made that recommendation.

The ignition interlock device forces a driver to blow into a machine.  It will disable a car if the driver is over a certain blood alcohol limit.

Under Louisiana Law Article 336.2, "Any person who is charged with a second or subsequent violation... while under the influence of alcohol... to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he operates."

Furthermore, under L.R.S. 14:98.K1, "Persons convicted of first offense DWI with a blood alcohol concentration of .20 or higher" must also get one.

In this particular case, there were two different guidelines that Gerald met where he should have been forced to get an interlock device, but he never did.

"It's a law that should have been followed in this case and in every case," Cory LeBlanc, President of Smart Start said.

Smart Start in one of several Ignition Interlock Device Companies across the state.  LeBlanc said often times there is confusion over state law.

"It is very frustrating on a daily basis," LeBlanc said. "We try to work to save lives and you have these different nuances on laws and the way people operate that prevent us from getting them on vehicles."

News 2 tried to reach the judge who presided over this case, but attempts to get a comment were unsuccessful.  Even though Gerald's case was heard in court, there's no guarantee if he was forced to get an interlock device, he would have still had it at the time of this crash.

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