St. Charles Parish President Larry Cochran has been charged with DWI after he reportedly did not complete the pre-trial diversion program he enrolled in after he was arrested for the crime in September of 2017.
According to a report by The Advocate citing Jefferson Parish Court records filed on Friday, Cochran was also charged with reckless operation of a motor vehicle, one of two charges he faced as result of his arrest on Sept. 2 of 2017, when Cochran was arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated in Kenner.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office offered Cochran the option to participate in the program as it noted is protocol for a first-time offender. Pre-trial diversion is a voluntary alternative to criminal prosecution for first-time offenders accused of misdemeanors or nonviolent felony crimes. Participants undergo counseling and other activities in the program. Charges can be dismissed or refused if the participant successfully completes the program.
Completion of the program would have led to dropped charges and Cochran having the option to have the arrest expunged from his criminal record. His reported failure to complete the program means he must now face the charges.
Cochran’s arraignment is scheduled on April 29.
Through a statement released Friday, Cochran said he made the decision to not complete the program so he could continue to receive the medical care necessary following the 2018 motorcycle accident he was involved in.
“Yesterday, I made the decision to resign from participating in the diversion program,” Cochran said. “That decision was made so I could finish receiving medical procedures for the injuries sustained in the motorcycle accident I was involved in last year. This decision did not come lightly. However, it is one that I needed to make, so I can take ownership of the incident, allowing me and my family to move past it, and to also finish receiving medical treatment needed to fully recover.
“I am deeply sorry for the negativity or embarrassment that this has brought to our community, parish employees, and most of all to my family and friends. St. Charles Parish government will continue to conduct business as usual and will continue to strive to provide high quality, efficient services to sustain and enhance the quality of life for all residents.”
The 2017 arrest of Cochran, who was elected as parish president in 2015, came after another Kenner motorist called police to report erratic driving about the road during early morning hours. According to the arrest report, a responding officer said Cochran’s eyes were red and glassy and his speech was slurred when he found Cochran’s SUV.
However, Cochran, 57, had no detectable alcohol in his system when he took a Breathalyzer test. According to police, he performed poorly on a field-sobriety test, which Cochran attributed to bad knees following a 2015 surgery. Blood samples were taken as a result and revealed there was no alcohol in his system but apparently detected three prescription painkillers, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Oxymorphone, according to Kenner police.
Later, in April of 2018, Cochran was involved in a motorcycle crash in which he required intensive care for his injuries. He was a passenger on the bike during the wreck, which he noted occurred while he was teaching his daughter how to drive it. Deputies issued citations to Cochran’s daughter for careless operation, riding with no helmet and no insurance. Cochran was issued a citation for not wearing a helmet.