Driver pays in cash instead of jail time for negligent

A Des Allemands man, who reportedly told a police officer that he had been drinking after he hit a pedestrian, pled guilty to negligent homicide and must pay the victim’s family $75,000 in restitution and perform 1,000 hours of community service.

The deal was agreed upon by both the family of victim Melvin Woods, III and Kyle Dufrene, who was responsible for the crash, according to court documents.

Woods was walking down Highway 631 in Des Allemands when he was struck by a 2000 Ford F-350 driven by Dufrene on Sept. 11, 2005 at 12:30 a.m., according to the Louisiana State Police.

Woods was injured so severely by the impact that he was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to accident reports, Dufrene was traveling westbound on the highway when he swerved left into the opposing lane and hit Woods, who was walking on the south side of the highway and headed in a westward direction.
His truck then ran into a drainage ditch on the right side of the highway.

The first officer on the scene told state police that Dufrene said Woods was standing in the roadway and he had swerved to avoid him. The officer said that Dufrene then told him that he had been drinking and pleaded with him to make sure Woods was not injured.

Because Woods’ mother, Jackie Burrell, worked for the St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office, the office recused themselves from the case and sent it to the state attorney general’s office. Judge Lauren Lemmon, who was scheduled to hear the case, also had to recuse herself because she had represented Woods in the past, according to court documents. Judge Robert Chaisson made a similar decision because his brother is representing Woods’ family in a civil trial.

Judge Emile St. Pierre sentenced Dufrene to a five-year suspended sentence and five years of probation. Dufrene must also attend substance abuse treatment and perform 1,000 hours of community service. St. Pierre also ordered Dufrene to pay Burrell $15,000 in three equal installments of $5,000. The total must be paid by Nov. 1, 2012.

Woods’ two children will also receive $30,000 each from Dufrene. Dufrene must pay each child $250 a month for the next 10 years.

If Dufrene fails to make any of the payments within 60 days of the due date, then the entire amount will be owed immediately.


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