Three deputies with the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office have been suspended without pay following an internal investigation into a two-vehicle crash on Mardi Gras night caused by a 25-year-old man suspected of driving under the influence who was never tested by police.
In a news release Friday, spokesman Capt. Steve Juge also identified the driver in that Feb. 13 crash as Aaron Barlow of Maringouin. Juge said Barlow was booked Tuesday on counts of careless operation, first offense DWI, negligent injuring and driving with a suspended license.
An internal investigation has been launched into a rookie Pointe Coupee deputy’s failure to administer a blood-alcohol test to a driver who cr…
Sheriff Bud Torres identified the deputies as Sgt. Scott Grezaffi and Sgt. Donald Higginbotham, who were each suspended three days and rookie deputy Michael Thomas, who received a 1-day suspension.
“The two sergeants were present on the scene and were supposed to be making sure everything got handled,” the sheriff said Friday.
The crash occurred around 7 p.m. Feb. 13 when a couple traveling eastbound along U.S. 190 was trying to make a left turn onto La. 978 in Torbert. Barlow plowed into the back of the couple's vehicle as they were waiting to make the turn. according to sheriff's office reports of the incident..
All the individuals in the crash were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, but both vehicles involved were a total loss.
Torres previously said one of his rookie deputies failed to administer a blood-alcohol test to Barlow. He said then there might have been a miscommunication between his deputy, who has only been on the force a year, and a State Police trooper who was called in to assist in the crash investigation.
"Yes, we made a mistake. We dropped the ball," Torres said previously. "But we're going to try and salvage what we have and correct the problem."
According to the news release Friday, the Sheriff's Office used a warrant to obtain the sample of blood that was drawn from Barlow while he was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries from the crash.