The father of Jonathan Scott, the 23-year-old struck and killed in September by a Baton Rouge man fleeing law enforcement officers, said he fears for public safety after the man accused in his son's death was again recently arrested on allegations of driving under the influence.
Reginald Weeden was out on bail on Nov. 11 when he was picked up in the DWI case. It was less than two months after his September arrest on negligent homicide in the death of Scott, as well as aggravated flight from officers. At the time of that fatal crash, he was out on bail from an earlier arrest on drug counts.
A Baton Rouge man arrested in September after police say he struck and killed a man while fleeing officers was arrested again early Saturday a…
"We're just concerned about him being able to be on the street and being able to hurt someone else, kill someone else, commit another crime," said the Rev. Robert Scott, Jonathan Scott's father. "We're (looking to) protect the community against someone who has committed habitual acts of violence. Who's going to be next? Whose child will be next?"
Weeden fled from narcotics detectives in Livingston Parish around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 5, leading officers on a chase — where his speed reached 119 mph — to Florida Boulevard in Baton Rouge, according to a Baton Rouge police report. The chase ended when Weeden crashed his car into Jonathan Scott's vehicle, police have said. Scott died in the crash.
At the time of the fatal crash, Weeden was free on bail, awaiting criminal proceedings from an Aug. 11 arrest on drug counts.
Baton Rouge Police first arrested him in the crash on counts of negligent homicide and aggravated flight from an officer, but he bailed out of East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Sept. 19 on a $160,000 bail, according to records filed online with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court.
He was then arrested the following day by deputies in Livingston Parish, also in connection to the chase and fatal crash that began in the neighboring parish. He was booked into Livingston Parish Detention Center on two counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle upon a peace officer, one count of aggravated flight from an officer, possession of Schedule II drugs, first-offense possession of marijuana and prohibited acts drug paraphernalia.
Weeden was released Sept 20, that same day he was booked, after posting bail of $86,000, said Livingston Parish Sheriff's spokeswoman Lori Steele.
A Tuesday night drug investigation by Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office in Walker that transitioned into a chase ended on Florida Boulevard i…
A man accused of fleeing authorities and causing a fatal crash in Baton Rouge was booked into prison on Monday.
"There's no way he should have gotten back out," said Robert Scott, who is the pastor of Nathaniel Baptist Church in Centreville, Mississippi, though the family lives in Baton Rouge. "I felt as though he should have been held (in jail) because of the fact that he was already on bond and committed a felony."
However, Scott said he was most concerned earlier this month when Weeden was arrested again, in what seemed like another reckless act that could have hurt another person.
In the latest arrest, an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy said he pulled Weeden over after he was driving 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. The deputy said that when Weeden opened the door he smelled a strong odor of what he believed to be marijuana and saw a half smoked cigar of suspected marijuana on the passenger's seat, according to his arrest report. The deputy also found many crystals on Weeden's lap and in his car, which later tested positive for methamphetamine. The document doesn't mention a breathalizer, blood or urine test. Weeden was arrested on first-offense driving while intoxicated, as well as counts related to drugs.
"He's shown in just two months that he's on the same pattern," Scott said.
Weeden was convicted of manslaughter in 2005. Then 18 years old, Weeden was convicted, along with another 18-year-old, of beating a 55-year-old man to death with a tree branch in December 2004, according to The Advocate archives.
Weeden's mother, who declined to give her first name in a phone interview, said her son has struggled since that incarceration at such a young age. She said her son has been stuck in a cycle after being released from prison without any training or job skills, and noted she believes he has mental health problems.
Weeden's mother said the family has not yet hired an attorney. Two public defenders have accompanied him in court, according to 19th Judicial District Court records, but a message Monday left with the East Baton Rouge Public Defender's Office went unanswered.
State District Judge Richard Anderson set Weeden's bail at $500,000 Thursday in the most recent DWI and drug arrest, according to East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III.
Moore said prosecutors had requested that his bail be raised higher than typical for a DWI and drug counts, though he said "only time will tell" if this latest — and highest — bail will keep Weeden behind bars.
As of Monday evening, Weeden had not posted bail and was still housed in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
While the higher bail has given their family some comfort, Scott said there's still the chance Weeden could get out.
"Coming Thanksgiving, we're going to have an empty seat at the table," Scott said. "If this guy posts bond, he'll be able to sit at the table with his family."
Jonathan Scott had left the barber shop Tuesday night and drove onto Florida Boulevard to head to a friend's house.
Moore said he hopes his office can bring justice to the Scott family through prosecution, but he said the case is still far from trial.
"We're taking this case and all his cases extremely seriously … If he is found guilty, the allegations against him deserve strong sentences," Moore said.
In the meantime, Scott said his family's faith in God and their strong community, especially of other pastors, have helped them carry on despite their loss. But that doesn't mean the last two months haven't been hard.
"You don't stop thinking about your child. ... You have that missing part of you, and you feel that everyday," Scott said. "All we we want as a family is justice for Jonathan. We look for justice."