A Jefferson Parish jury convicted a Marrero man of vehicular homicide on Friday over a drunk-driving incident that left his 1-year-old son dead.
Jeremiah Price, 32, drove his car into the back of a construction vehicle on a closed section of the West Bank Expressway the morning of Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities said his son Jashawn was not secured at the time.
Price now faces between five and 30 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced before 24th Judicial District Court Judge E. Adrian Adams on Aug. 26.
Price also was convicted of various traffic violations related to the wreck.
Authorities said Price was driving a 2002 Hyundai sedan east on the elevated expressway near Terrytown when he approached a stretch that the state Department of Transportation and Development had shut down to install signs. Traffic had been diverted from the expressway to the adjacent, ground-level roadway, but authorities said Price ignored multiple closure signs and plowed through barrels blocking the work area.
Price ran into a construction vehicle near Stumpf Boulevard. Jashawn was not buckled into a child safety seat, authorities said.
The boy soon died at West Jefferson Medical Center from severe head injuries. Police determined Price’s blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit of 0.08.
Price received treatment for minor injuries at Ochsner Medical Center’s West Bank Campus and was then jailed. Aside from vehicular homicide, prosecutors later charged him with failure to properly restrain a child passenger, not wearing a seat belt and disobeying a traffic control device.
Jefferson Parish Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Angad Ghai presented the case against Price to six jurors at the state courthouse in Gretna over four days beginning Tuesday. The jury deliberated a little more than an hour before finding Price guilty of vehicular homicide.
In a separate but related verdict rendered Friday as well, Adams ruled that Price also was guilty of the traffic charges.
Price testified in his own defense prior to both verdicts, arguing in part that the work zone where he crashed his car was poorly illuminated and that he had in fact buckled his baby in the middle of the back seat. He admitted drinking but denied that alcohol was a factor in the deadly wreck.
Price was represented by attorney Eddie Jordan, who could not be reached for comment Friday.