A New Orleans driver who struck and killed a 6-year-old boy last year in Gentilly and then fled the scene was handed a 12-year sentence Wednesday on manslaughter and hit-and-run counts.
Retired Criminal District Court Judge Dennis Waldron, sitting ad hoc, handed down the sentence for 23-year-old Arthur Toledano after rendering a guilty verdict last week following a two-day bench trial.
Waldron sentenced Toledano to 12 years on the manslaughter count and six months on the hit-and-run count. Those sentences are to run concurrently. Toledano faced between 10 and 40 years under a state law that raises the maximum when the victim is under 10 years old.
The hit-and-run, which killed Shaud Wilson, a first-grader at Akili Academy, happened at 7 a.m. Feb. 3, 2014, on Paris Avenue near Lafreniere Street. Authorities estimated that Toledano, who has several previous traffic citations, was driving his Honda Crosstour 71 mph in a 35-mph zone.
Toledano veered into the middle lane to pass a black truck that had stopped for a group of children scampering across the crosswalk to get to their bus stop.
A surveillance video captured the hit-and-run frame by frame.
The video shows the SUV veering into the middle lane and racing past the truck. Shaud then vanishes from view.
He died about an hour later at Interim LSU Hospital. The boy’s sister, Shanaya, 10, received head injuries when she was struck by the vehicle’s side mirror.
In testimony last week, Errol Williams, an uncle of the victims, said Toledano continued driving after striking the children. “He looked me right in my face,” Williams said, “and drove right past.”
Toledano lived about a mile away and returned to his home after the incident. New Orleans police, who identified Toledano based on an anonymous tip, said he never denied being the driver but claimed he had driven away out of fear.
No drugs or alcohol were found in his system.
Toledano’s defense attorney, Stavros Panagoulopoulos, called Shaud’s death “a tragic accident.” At the time of the incident, he said, Toledano had been hurrying home to pick up a bag so he could go to work as a hotel server.
Assistant District Attorneys Lauren Favret and Mike Lopez prosecuted the case.
Following the verdict last week, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said Toledano represented “a serious threat to public safety” and condemned his “blatant disregard for societal norms.”
“Not only was this a horrific tragedy, but what truly disgusted me about this case was the defendant’s refusal to take responsibility for his actions,” Cannizzaro said.