A grand jury indicted a 21-year-old Lafayette man Thursday on reckless operation in the death of Baton Rouge councilman Buddy Amoroso, who was fatally struck by an SUV while bicycling on a rural, two-lane road in late June.
However, Nicholas Alexander will not face the more serious charge of negligent homicide. The parish grand jury that considered his case declined to bring an indictment on that charge or for careless operation, said West Feliciana District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla.
Alexander, the driver of the Chevrolet Tahoe that hit and killed Amoroso, was arrested after the June 30 crash along La. 66 west of St. Francisville. A man biking with Amoroso, Tom Clement, was also injured.
After decades of service to the Baton Rouge community that spanned from the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council chambers to Boy Scout camps …
While Alexander initially told State Police he was driving at a slower speed than police later determined through their investigation, he was still traveling below the posted 55 mph speed limit, according to a State Police report released in August.
At the time of the crash, three other passengers and an infant were inside the SUV along with Alexander, according to the report. A passenger, Crystal Bellows, wrote in a voluntary statement that Alexander was driving the speed limit.
She said it seemed the cyclists never knew the vehicle was behind them because while Alexander was trying to drive around them, one cyclist "moved toward the vehicle," the report says. Alexander wrote in his statement that one cyclist bumped the other before the crash.
However, Clement told police about a month after the crash that he had seen a white vehicle in his rear-view mirror and warned Amoroso about the approaching automobile.
After hitting the cyclists, Alexander got out of his vehicle to check on them, the report says. Another motorist called 911. Amoroso, 61, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver who struck and killed Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso in late June told State Police he was driving at a slower speed th…
The State Police report also says Alexander voluntarily submitted to a chemical test and provided a blood sample to police. The results have not been announced, but State Police have said they do not suspect impairment played a role in the crash. An autopsy for Amoroso also detected no alcohol or drugs in his system.
Alexander was initially booked into West Feliciana Detention Center on counts of negligent homicide, negligent injuring and limitations on passing bicycles. Days after his arrest, Alexander was released on $17,500 bail.
The grand jury on Wednesday also considered an unrelated case against another motorist, whose truck hit and killed 48-year-old Russell Achord, a deputy chief with the West Feliciana Fire Protection District, on an icy day in January. The driver, Robert McCoy, 51, of Tallulah, was also charged Thursday with reckless operation.
At the time of the crash, McCoy was not arrested or issued a ticket, said D'Aquilla, the West Feliciana District Attorney. State Police said at the time that weather was a factor in the crash.
McCoy's Dodge Ram was pulling a trailer and crashed into Achord, who was already on the side of U.S. 61 responding to an 18-wheeler that had previously ran off the side of the road in the icy conditions.