GONZALES — A Denham Springs man faces up to five years in state prison after pleading guilty to negligent homicide in a 2013 Ascension Parish crash that killed a 83-year-old Gonzales woman, prosecutors said Wednesday.
State troopers found Travis Parent Jr., 27, failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of La. 931 and Joe Sevario Road in Galvez on Jan. 15, 2013.
Parent's pickup ran into the front of Audrey S. Wells' car. She died at the scene and Parent was later arrested.
Troopers found Parent was distracted by a cell phone at the time, prosecutors in the 23rd Judicial District said in a statement.
Parent's attorney, Rusty Messer, said Wednesday that Parent wasn't familiar with the area and was looking at GPS application as the phone was being held by his girlfriend.
Messer said the crash was an accident and that he and his client believed he stood a good chance at trial, but they determined it wasn't worth the risk with the hope of a more-lenient sentence.
"It's our position that this was not criminal act. It was an act of civil negligence, and we're hoping the sentence will reflect that," Messer said.
Parent, 24816 Spiller Ranch Road, entered the plea Tuesday before Judge Thomas Kliebert Jr. of the 23rd Judicial District Court.
Kliebert deferred sentencing until 9 a.m. May 22, pending a pre-sentence investigation.
Assistant District Attorney Shawn Bush prosecuted the case.