In the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 6, 2012, Wendell Raborn was on the receiving end of one of those gut-wrenching and life-changing telephone calls that as a law enforcement officer he has had to make to families of loved ones killed in car crashes.
Raborn’s call came from a hospital nurse at 2:14 a.m. His 25-year-old son, Lafayette native and Baton Rouge resident Andrew Eugene Raborn, had been involved in a wreck shortly before midnight on Jan. 5, 2012, on Burbank Drive. He died from his injuries the next day.
Four years later on Wednesday, the Baton Rouge man who troopers estimated was driving well over 100 mph when he smashed into Raborn’s vehicle was sentenced to two years in state prison, to be followed by five years of active supervised probation.
Under an agreed upon sentence, state District Judge Trudy White sentenced 22-year-old Alexander Friedy to five years in prison but suspended all but two of those years.
Friedy, who was 18 at the time of the crash, pleaded guilty in November to negligent homicide, which carries up to five years behind bars.
In a victim impact testimony given shortly before White sentenced Friedy, Wendell Raborn — who works for the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office — told the judge his son obtained two degrees from LSU.
“Not a day goes by that we don’t miss Andrew,” he said.
“We used to live a life of joy with moments of sadness. Now we live a life of sadness with moments of joy,” added Elisa Holmes Raborn, Andrew’s mother.
Elisa Raborn told the judge she wished Friedy could be barred from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle for the rest of his life.
When it was time for Friedy to speak, he turned and apologized to the Raborn family.
“I’m sorry for what happened,” he said. “If there was any way, I’d trade places in a second. I think about it every day.”
Outside the courtroom, Wendell Raborn said his son was killed driving home from his second job. He was trying to pay off his student loans. He said his son was always happy and smiling.
“He was like the happiest guy at the party,” he said.
Elisa Raborn stressed that driving is a privilege and forcing Friedy to use public transportation the rest of his life would have made him ponder each day what he had done.
Friedy told authorities he was reaching for a cigarette lighter when he smashed into Raborn’s car.
“The scary part of this case, and something that we should keep foremost in our mind, is that this could happen to anyone, anytime. Especially with the inattentiveness of drivers these days,” Friedy’s attorney, Bo Rougeou, said.
Wendell Raborn said troopers estimated Friedy was traveling over 110 mph.
Andrew Raborn was an organ donor, and his father said his son’s heart and other internal organs were used to save lives.
“There were four or five lives he passed onto,” he said.