A Baton Rouge police officer who resigned after crashing his police car into one of the LSU lakes while taking a woman on a late-night, off-duty ride a few months ago can expect a hefty bill from the Police Department.
Byron S. Boudreaux, the former officer, will be charged for the totaled police unit and the equipment that was ruined when the car spun off East Lakeshore Drive and plunged into University Lake in September, said the department’s legal adviser.
“The department has every intention of seeking restitution for the entire amount of the damages caused by Mr. Boudreaux’s actions,” said Kim Brooks, the legal adviser.
Boudreaux resigned in October amid an internal investigation into the crash. The department hasn’t finished calculating the total cost of the bill that will be sent to Boudreaux, Brooks said.
Another former officer, Alec Pirie, who resigned in early December amid an internal investigation unrelated to the one involving Boudreaux, also was billed recently for damage done to his cruiser before he quit.
Officers responded to Pirie’s Denham Springs home in mid-November after receiving complaints from residents regarding an abandoned BRPD unit in the area. When they arrived, the officers found a car key hanging from the key hole of the unit’s trunk, according to an Internal Affairs report made available this week.
Among the items in the trunk were an assault rifle, a revolver and several evidence packages containing drugs related to a criminal case, the report says. In addition, officers noticed the unit had a broken rear window and that a shotgun was lying unsecured inside the car on the floorboard.
A department spokesman said no equipment was missing or stolen from the car. Before he resigned, Pirie turned in the evidence, which included marijuana and cocaine. He later was billed $120 for the broken window.
Reached by phone, Pirie declined to comment. Attempts to reach Boudreaux were unsuccessful.
A recent review of documents detailing the internal investigation into Boudreaux’s crash revealed some previously unreported facts about the accident, which took place just before 2 a.m. on Sept. 11.
Boudreaux told investigators he and some friends began the night drinking at The Bulldog on Perkins Road. He told them he drank three beers there before one of his friends drove him home around midnight.
Later on, some other friends, including two women, came over to Boudreaux’s Southdowns home. After one of the women asked multiple times for a ride in Boudreaux’s car, he agreed to take her out for a spin, according to an internal report.
Boudreaux told investigators he crashed while driving too fast around a curve on East Lakeshore near Cedardale Avenue. He couldn’t recall exactly how fast he was going, the report says.
Just before he crashed into the water, Boudreaux tried to turn back toward the road, which caused the car to flip into the lake. He told investigators that he and the woman “somehow switched positions” during the crash, placing her in the driver’s seat and him in the passenger seat, according to the report.
Boudreaux said he then rolled down a window and climbed out before helping the woman out of the car. After they escaped, the siren malfunctioned, Boudreaux said, so he swam back in and turned it off.
Boudreaux told investigators the woman confirmed she was ok and then she walked away from the scene. She later returned.
When interviewed by internal investigators, the woman told a slightly different story.
The woman, who declined to comment when reached this week, told police during the internal investigation that she ran into Boudreaux at The Bulldog earlier that night. She remembered seeing him drink only one beer, the report says.
At some point after midnight, Boudreaux drove the woman and some other people from the bar to his house in his personal vehicle, the woman told investigators. When she asked for a ride in his unit, he agreed, the report says.
The woman told investigators that the car flipped because Boudreaux was driving recklessly. After they crashed, he pushed through the windshield and swam out, the woman said, and she followed him.
Boudreaux then swam back into the unit “for some unknown reason,” the report says.
Although she initially left the scene, a friend later took her back so she could provide a statement to police, according to the report.
Following the crash, Boudreaux called his parents. Then he called police.
According to a police report drafted by the officer who responded, “Boudreaux was noted to have a distinct and unmistakable odor of an alcoholic beverage about his person, which intensified as the conversation progressed. Close observation revealed Boudreaux’s eyes to be glassy and bloodshot red.”
During their conversation, Boudreaux told the officer he drank two beers at The Bulldog — a UFO and an Abita Andygator. When asked whether he still felt the effects of the alcohol, Boudreaux said he did, “but just a little,” according to the report.
The officer took Boudreaux to the LSU Police station to conduct a breath test. At first, Boudreaux refused the test. He went back and forth about taking the test before eventually submitting when told he would be booked into Parish Prison on suspicion of DWI and a few other violations if he refused, the report says.
When he finally blew, about two hours after the crash, the machine registered a BAC of 0.068, just under the legal limit for driving in Louisiana, which is 0.08 for people older than 21. He blew a second time with the same outcome, according to copies of the test results.
Boudreaux then was taken to a medical clinic for further testing for administrative purposes. He was not arrested, nor was he ever charged with any crime.
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