Four months after an East Baton Rouge Parish jury failed to reach a verdict, a different jury acquitted a Baton Rouge man in an alleged hit-and-run on Gardere Lane that led to the death of a bicyclist.
Darby Griffin, 50, was found not guilty of hit-and-run driving Friday night in the death of Barbara Jacobs, 54.
Jacobs was not wearing a helmet or reflective gear at 11 p.m. Sept. 30, 2012, when, State Police have said, Griffin’s southbound 1999 Mazda struck her rear tire, throwing Jacobs from her bike and into the northbound lane of Gardere where a 2006 Lexus sport utility vehicle then hit her.
“Justice has prevailed … but there are no winners when there is a loss of life,” Griffin’s attorney, Felix “Andy” DeJean, said Monday.
“This should be a wake-up call to local government authorities to finally install proper lighting and sidewalks on Gardere Lane for the safety and well-being of all citizens who travel that busy street.”
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the case was fully presented and the jury spoke.
“We recognize the difficult task that this hard-working jury had in interpreting the hit-and-run law as it applied to these facts. The jury worked hard and we respect its decision,” he said. “We can only hope that everyone involved can find some measure of closure and that all of us can operate safely on our parish roads.”
Prosecutor Robert Savage argued to the jury that Griffin was guilty because he left the scene and failed to render reasonable aid to Jacobs. Griffin was driving without a license, insurance or a license plate, Savage noted, and he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.088 percent more than five hours after the crash.
A blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving in Louisiana for those 21 and older.
Griffin, who faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted of hit-and-run driving involving serious bodily injury or death, testified he did not consume alcohol that day. He said it was Jacobs who ran into his car.
Griffin also said he got out of his car twice at the scene but finally left after being threatened by several people at the scene. He said he feared for his life.
Griffin said he drove to his Gardere-area home, told his wife what had happened, then walked to a friend’s home nearby and was driven to an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office substation.