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Trial date set for prosecutor accused of hit and run on False River

1 year 2 months 1 week ago Thursday, May 04 2023 May 4, 2023 May 04, 2023 5:42 PM May 04, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

NEW ROADS- A prosecutor from the Lafayette area accused in a hit and run on False River is scheduled to go to trial this fall as questions loom about the delay.

A trial date is set for Chris Richard on Sept. 25, 2023.

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The WBRZ Investigative Unit found that since Chris Richard's arrest in August 2021, he's had five continuances in his case.

Officials said the three children were sharing a tube in the waterway when they were hit by a boat, reportedly being driven by Richard. Witnesses said that boat and its occupants fled the scene of the crash before law enforcement arrived.

The department said in a news release announcing the arrest that Richard reportedly jumped into the water to check on the kids but then got back on his boat and left. One of the children suffered a fractured pelvis and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Baton Rouge.

Tara Elwell owns a camp on False River. She also happens to be an attorney from Lafayette.

"It surprised me that a fellow attorney could bail on a situation," Elwell said. "We are supposed to be officers of the court and do good by people. To leave children knowing they are hurt. I can't understand it."

There are questions about why the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries waited to charge him. There are questions Thursday about whether political connections got in the way.

Dusty Guidry, who works for the Lafayette Parish District Attorney, plead guilty this year to counts that implicated the Wildlife and Fisheries head as part of a bribery scheme. Turns out, Richard works for that same District Attorney's office.

"You wonder how this happens," LSU Law Professor Ken Levy said. "In a way it's very self destructive, to engage in this kind of corruption. You're going to get caught. You certainly are going to get caught lose your job and go to jail."

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