Driver high on drugs when he hit pedestrian may get light sentence despite past DWI arrests
BATON ROUGE - Cellphone video shows first responders wheel a man away on a stretcher after being hit by a car along Greenwell Springs Road on Friday morning.
Firefighters and other first responders raced to save the man's life after he was hit while unloading other cars off a truck. He was rushed to the hospital with broken ribs and serious injuries to his legs.
"The victim in this case is at risk of losing both his legs," District Attorney Hillar Moore told WBRZ.
Police say the driver is 34-year old Richard Scholtens, who left the scene immediately and drove off about a mile before first responders found him in his car.
According to a warrant, Scholtens was found uninjured, but was described as lifeless and not breathing. Moore says investigators believe Scholtens was on some type of opiate. He was revived with Narcan.
Moore tells WBRZ investigators are monitoring the victim's condition but his injuries could be life-altering.
As for Scholtens, Moore says he wants to charge him with first-degree vehicular negligent injury. It doesn't carry a lengthy sentence, which Moore says is unfortunate given the victims legs could be amputated.
"The maximum sentence is five years. So for him, I'm sure that's not a very significant time, particularly given what we anticipate the damage to be to him."
Moore says his office will continue to look for any other crimes Scholtens may have committed. Right now, the only thing that can change the sentence is a revision of the law.
"For this type of injury, it sure seems like five years isn't long enough. But that is something the legislature will have to decide," Moore said.
Moore also tells WBRZ, Scholtens has previous DWI arrests and two felony drug convictions in other parishes.
Scholtens' bond is listed at $18,000.
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