An 18-year-old Prairieville man was killed Tuesday when he was helping push a friend’s disabled car off a road and he was struck by a drunken driver, State Police said.
J. Thomas Bowers, 41, of Baton Rouge, was driving the vehicle that struck and killed Richard Billingsley Jr., of Prairieville, said State Police Trooper 1st Class Byron Lee, a spokesman for Troop A.
Bowers was arrested on second-offense DWI and vehicular homicide, Lee said in a news release.
Shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, Ambar Hicks, 20, of Prairieville, was driving eastbound on La. 42 west of La. 44 in Ascension Parish when her 2005 Mazda Tribute began having mechanical problems and became disabled on the road.
Billingsley, who was a passenger in the car, began pushing the car out of the road while Hicks steered it with her emergency flashing lights turned on, according to the report by Lee.
Bowers, who was traveling eastbound on the same road, failed to stop as he approached Billingsley and the disabled car, and hit the teenager, Lee said.
Billingsley was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ascension Parish Coroner’s Office. Hicks received minor injuries and was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales.
Impairment is not believed to have been a factor on the part of either Hicks or Billingsley, Lee said. A toxicology sample was taken from Hicks and submitted to the State Police crime lab. Toxicology results for Billingsley are pending an autopsy, Lee said.
Bowers was not wearing a seat belt but didn’t receive any injuries in the crash, in which impairment and speed are suspected to be factors, the State Police report said.
Bowers refused to submit to a chemical breath test for intoxication, and Lee said troopers had to take him to St. Elizabeth Hospital, where a toxicology sample was taken for the State Police crime lab.
Bowers was booked into Ascension Parish Prison on counts of second-offense DWI, vehicular homicide, vehicular negligent injuring, reckless operation, open container, speeding and no seat belt.
A family friend of the Billingsleys, Jessica Leon, said Wednesday that the teenager was the son of Richard and Phyllis Billingsley.
“He was a great kid with a bright future,” she said.
Leon provided a statement from the family.
“Ricky Billingsley, 18 years old, just graduated from St. Amant High School with honors and was about to start LSU in a computer engineering program,” Leon said.
She said he loved playing in the band and “Airsoft wars with his buddies and spending time with his family.”
Airsoft is a game in which participants eliminate opponents by hitting each other with spherical nonmetallic yellow or orange pellets launched via replica firearms called Airsoft guns.
“He was a very caring person who loved to help people.” Leon added. “He died doing that.”