State Police on Thursday arrested a second man involved in a four-vehicle crash that claimed the lives of two young children Sunday in Livingston Parish.
Six-year-old Khaiden Ramsey and 4-year-old Samuel Shropshire were killed when Jerry Ervin III, 26, of Denham Springs, drove through caution triangles and hit two vehicles and a group of people gathered on the side of Walker South Road after a garbage compactor fell from another man’s truck, blocking the road.
Ervin was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail on two counts of vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular negligent injuring, hit-and-run, reckless operation and having an open container in his vehicle.
Travis Rose, the driver accused of driving away after a trash compactor fell from his truck, was arrested that same day on counts of vehicular homicide, felony hit and run, aggravated obstruction of a highway, failure to secure a load and no insurance.
Michelle Ramsey, the boys’ mother, said Thursday she was driving back to their Baton Rouge home from a friend’s housewarming party in Livingston Parish about 8:30 p.m. Sunday when the compactor fell in front of her on La. 447, also known as Walker South Road. As the truck driver drove away, Ramsey said, she veered to the right to try to avoid the compactor but hit it.
She pulled over and turned her hazard lights on. A couple and their 16-year-old son from a nearby house brought caution triangles to put on the road and flashlights to help direct traffic, she said.
“There was no way you could not have known something was going on,” but Ervin did not slow down, Ramsey said. Instead, he plowed his Toyota 4Runner through the triangles and into Ramsey’s car and another car that had pulled over. Then, Ramsey said, Ervin drove into people standing on the roadside — first the teenage boy who was helping, then Ramsey and then her children.
While waiting for police to arrive, Ramsey had told her children — Khaiden, Samuel and 15-year-old Kaylee Ramsey — to stand in a nearby driveway.
“The road doesn’t have like a sidewalk or a median or anything, and it’s just road and grass and a big ditch,” Ramsey said.
As she scolded her oldest son for making spit bubbles and tried to find a phone number for a tow truck in papers from her glove compartment, she heard a boom.
“When I turned around, it was too late,” Ramsey said. “The car hit me, and I could see my sons scatter. I don’t know how long I blacked out for … but I could only hear my daughter crying, and I couldn’t hear my babies crying.”
She and her daughter suffered several lacerations and are healing.
Samuel, known to family as “Sam,” attended Polk Elementary School. Khaiden, who would have turned 7 next month, attended the Foreign Language Academic Immersion Magnet.
“I have to live with the rest of my life knowing when I get up in the morning, my 4-year-old is not going to hug me,” Ramsey said. “My 6-year-old is not going to tell me I can’t kiss him in front of his friends.”