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Ticket issued to Livingston deputy who drove 85 mph before deadly wreck

3 months 1 week 4 days ago Tuesday, October 25 2022 Oct 25, 2022 October 25, 2022 4:42 PM October 25, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON - A Livingston Parish grand jury on Tuesday, Oct. 11, criminally charged a deputy in a crash that killed a woman during the summer. 

The grand jury charged Cory Winburn with careless operation in the death of 33-year-old Christinia Estave. The charge means Winburn was issued a ticket rather than being booked into jail, according to District Attorney Scott Perrilloux.

The citation was issued three days later, Oct. 14. 

Estave's family was livid, after spending the entire day Tuesday at the courthouse and not being allowed in when the grand jury rendered its decision.

"Right now, I can't be polite, f*** them all," Estave's mother, Melissa Allyn said.

She said not being in the room when the grand jury came back to read the decision and being forced to leave the building after waiting all day was the height of disrespect. 

"Honest to God it feels like my daughter's been killed all over again," Allyn said. 

The crash happened around 1 a.m. July 15 on Range Avenue, while Estave's vehicle was stopped in the left lane of the highway, apparently trying to make a U-turn.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office has refused to say much about the crash since it happened, but claims the deputy was responding to a shots-fired call when he slammed into the back of Estave's car. His unit had to be dislodged from the back of her vehicle.

Estave, a mother of four, was not wearing her seatbelt and died in the hospital shortly afterward.

The crash report obtained by WBRZ Wednesday shows Winburn was going 85 miles per hour without his emergency lights when he struck Estave's car. Winburn told state troopers that he had looked down at his laptop computer to check the location of a call he was responding to. When he looked back up, Winburn claims he saw Estave's car without its taillights on and was not able to stop in time. 

"I ask for honesty, and I ask for justice," Allyn said. "I have absolutely tried to do everything right and be a fraction of what my daughter is. I'm not her, and I will not give up."

Investigators found that both the deputy and Estave had amphetamines in their system. Winburn said he had taken Adderall, and Estave's mother said she was also on prescription drugs. 

The WBRZ Investigative Unit also found a discrepancy in that paperwork: the crash report listed two different blood-alcohol levels for Estave. At one point, her BAC was said to be 0.016 percent, while another part of the report lists it as 0.16 percent. We asked State Police to clarify which number was correct, and the agency said bloodwork showed her BAC to be .16 percent, which is over the legal driving limit. 

For months, the sheriff's office has refused to comment further on what happened and would not say anything publicly about discipline for the deputy. 

Records show Winburn, first hired by the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office in 2009, was fired from the department in October 2018. He then spent about a year with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office before being rehired by LPSO in February 2020. 

Winburn was also named in a 2014 lawsuit after he rear-ended someone in his unit, though that suit was ultimately dismissed. 

WBRZ asked the sheriff's office why he was previously fired by the department, but that question has not been answered as of Tuesday night. 

Sheriff Jason Ard released the following statement Tuesday.

"On July 15, 2022, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Winburn was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of Christina Estave. Louisiana State Police has led the investigation of this accident, which was then turned over to the District Attorney’s Office of 21st Judicial District Court. Our office has fully cooperated with these investigations since the accident.

Today, a Livingston Parish grand jury has charged Deputy Winburn with careless operation of a motor vehicle. It is our understanding that as a result of the grand jury’s finding Deputy Winburn will be issued a citation by the Louisiana State Police in accordance with the law.

Our office has been conducting its own internal investigation to determine what discipline of Deputy Winburn may be appropriate.

Consistent with the policy of this office not to comment on pending legal matters, there will be no further comment regarding this accident at this time.

We continue to keep the Estave family in our thoughts and prayers."

Louisiana law defines careless operation as the failure to drive in a careful and prudent manner, so as to not endanger the life or property of another person. Failure to do so results in court-ordered community service of no more than 250 hours and the possibility of having a driver's license suspended for two years.

WBRZ asked why State Police did not charge Winburn when the crash report clearly shows him at fault. A spokesman released the following statement:

"LSP conducted a thorough investigation into this crash and presented findings to the District Attorney's Office. Local DA offices are often consulted regarding charges in fatal crashes. In this incident, the DA's office elected to bring the findings to a grand jury. Their office would be best to speak on the decision of the grand jury and judicial process."

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