After a grand jury declined to prosecute Shawnette B. Taylor in the June deaths of two children fishing along Bluff Road in Ascension Parish, Louisiana State Police on Monday issued a citation to the Prairieville woman on careless operation.
The siblings died when Taylor’s sport utility vehicle ran off the road and plowed into them, their father and two other adults.
On Friday, the Ascension Parish grand jury declined to prosecute Taylor, 48, on two counts of negligent homicide, handing up a no true bill on the felony counts.
But troopers said Tuesday they did find probable cause to issue the misdemeanor traffic summons for Taylor in the June 24 crash that killed Sarai “Ladybug” Lanus, 9, and her brother, Daylon “Duce” Lanus, 6, both of Geismar.
The siblings were fishing with their father, David Lanus Sr., 31, and two of his cousins in a bayou that runs under Bluff Road near Prairieville.
Sarai and Daylon died despite attempts by bystanders with medical experience to save the children’s lives. David Lanus and his cousins were also injured in the crash.
The loss of the children was a shock to friends and family in the Geismar area, and the Parish Council last month declared June 24 as Kool Kids Day in Ascension. “Kool Kids” was a neighborhood nickname for the Lanus children.
District Attorney Ricky Babin, who presented the case to the grand jury, said Friday that while the grand jury did not find the gross negligence necessary for a true bill on the charges, a traffic citation might be forthcoming from State Police.
Trooper Jared Sandifer, spokesman for State Police Troop A, said Tuesday that Taylor failed to maintain control of her vehicle and ran off the road.
“She did cause a crash. That’s why we decided to cite her, for basically losing control of her vehicle,” Sandifer said.
Although Taylor gave an apparently false initial account of what led up to her driving off the road, which is La. 928, State Police had said in August that they did not find conclusive evidence to show Taylor was criminally negligent for the crash.
Babin and State Police investigators said there was no evidence Taylor had drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of the crash, nor was she using her cellphone.
Taylor was driving 55 mph in a 55 mph zone, the State Police report says.
Troopers have said Taylor drove off the side of narrow, two-lane Bluff Road in a curve. The 2004 Nissan Armada she was driving went down a steep embankment off the southbound lane and continued about 100 to 200 feet, hitting the group fishing.
Taylor and the Lanuses have declined recent requests for comment. The Lanuses have said Taylor sent them an apology letter over the summer.
Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.