As Livingston Parish officials await the release of a crash report and damage estimate following the arrest of a parish employee on a count of drunken driving in a parish vehicle, one councilman is calling for the employee’s immediate termination.
State Police arrested Shevis Ball, 49, of Denham Springs, on counts of DWI and careless operation about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, after Ball crashed a parish-owned Ford F-150 near his home on La. 16, south of La. 63, officials said.
Ball serves as the parish’s liaison to Waste Management and performs various other duties, including responding to sewer complaints and working in facilities maintenance, Parish President Layton Ricks said.
Ricks put Ball on paid administrative leave after the wreck Tuesday — a move Councilman Garry Talbert said runs afoul of the parish’s employee manual.
The manual says use of a parish-owned vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs “will result in immediate termination.”
Talbert said Ricks’ failure to apply the rule in Ball’s case sends the wrong message to other employees and to the public.
“The parish president says he’s doing his investigation. To me, that means he’s delaying the inevitable,” Talbert said. “My concern is that he’s looking for a way to keep him. It just looks bad on the parish. Sometimes you’re personal friends and too close to make the right call, and that’s exactly what’s happening here.”
Ricks said he is waiting for a report from State Police, which he expects to have Monday, and will hold a hearing for Ball with members of the human resources and safety staff before he decides on discipline.
“Ball has not been treated differently than anyone else would be,” Ricks said. “He will be treated according to the manual once we get accurate information, but I’m not going to make any decisions without first having the facts.”
Ball could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Ricks said an insurance adjuster looked at the truck Wednesday, but he had not yet received an estimate for the damage.
Photographs of the truck show extensive damage to the front end, a large scrape and dent along the driver-side door, a caved and cracked windshield, and missing back glass.
Ricks said he did not know what may have hit the windshield or whether Ball had to be removed through the back glass. Ball could not remember much about the accident when Ricks spoke with him Tuesday afternoon, Ricks said.
Ball had worked for a few hours Monday morning, then clocked out to play in a charity golf tournament at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Denham Springs that afternoon, Ricks said. Ball was one of four people on the parish president’s sponsored team.
Ricks did not play and left the golf course about 2 p.m., not long after Ball and his team teed off for the afternoon flight, he said.
Ricks said he did not know whether Ball drove his parish truck to the tournament, but he would not have questioned it if Ball had. Ball could have been called away from the tournament for parish business at any point, Ricks said.
Ricks said there were beer carts at the tournament, but he would not know who drank during the event.
“I don’t even go on the course for my own tournaments,” he said.
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