A Metairie man is awaiting sentencing Nov. 10 in a Baton Rouge hit-and-run that killed a 20-year-old woman who was checking on a motorist involved in a separate accident on Interstate 10 near College Drive.
Christian Cvitanovich, 37, pleaded no contest Tuesday to a felony hit-and-run driving charge in the Jan. 31, 2010, death of Mikel “Misha” Carson, who was living in Hammond at the time.
He faces up to 10 years in prison when state District Judge Trudy White sentences him.
Carson’s mother, Michele Carson, believes Cvitanovich should spend at least five years behind bars.
“Who knows if my daughter could have been saved if he had just pulled his car over and called 911?” she said Wednesday in an email.
Immediately after the impact, Cvitanovich allegedly pulled to the outside shoulder for a moment before exiting the interstate at College, according to an arrest warrant. Cvitanovich stopped his sport utility vehicle at an unknown location and changed a tire, removed a headlight and part of the front bumper.
Cvitanovich then took the SUV to a Metairie body shop on Feb. 1, 2010, and requested it be repaired without notifying the insurance company, the warrant says. He told workers at the shop he had hit a deer, but called back the next day and said he was involved in a hit-and-run, and told the shop’s owner to be expecting a visit from police.
Lance Unglesby, who represented Cvitanovich at his Tuesday court appearance, declined comment Wednesday.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said he is relieved for the Carson family that the matter was resolved in a plea as charged.
“I hope that the family will eventually be able to get some closure and peace following their tragic loss,” he said.
A no contest plea carries the same weight as a guilty plea in criminal court but cannot be used as an admission of guilt in any civil proceeding.
A year after the fatal crash, Mikel Carson’s father sued Cvitanovich in Baton Rouge state court.