Chad Vidrine

Chad Vidrine

A New Orleans judge handed prison time to a Geismar man Tuesday for drunkenly crashing into another vehicle and killing a man.

Criminal District Court Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier sentenced Chad Vidrine, 39, to three years in prison, to be followed by three years of probation.

The judge also said Vidrine must install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle if he drives again.

A jury convicted Vidrine of vehicular homicide at trial in October. He faced up to 30 years imprisonment.

Authorities said Vidrine tested for a blood alcohol content of .121 after the crash at Calliope and Annunication streets on the night of Feb. 4, 2016, five days before Fat Tuesday. He blew through a stoplight in his pickup truck before crashing into the second vehicle, police said.

Joseph Sunseri, 35, was tossed from the second vehicle and mortally wounded.

Prosecutors called a series of victim-impact witnesses, including Sunseri’s mother and girlfriend, before the judge handed down the sentence.

Defense attorney Frank DeSalvo requested an appeal bail for Vidrine, which the judge set at $100,000. Vidrine immediately posted the bail and will remain out of jail while his case is on appeal.

DeSalvo said he was confident in Vidrine's chances on appeal. He argued at trial that the city had removed the red light to allow Carnival parades through the intersection.

In other matters recently handled by local authorities:

• Three men wielding rifles broke into a home in the 2700 block of Gladiolus Street in Gentilly about 10 p.m. Tuesday and stole multiple items from a 25-year-old man, New Orleans police said. The victim wasn’t physically injured.

• A 36-year-old woman was cut on each hand by a man who put her in a chokehold and took her belongings about 7 a.m. Tuesday in the 1900 block of Canal Street on the edge of Mid-City, New Orleans police said.

• A 26-year-old man and 22-year-old man who were spreading concrete were robbed of their car keys at gunpoint about 10:55 a.m. Tuesday at the corner of Western Street and Mirabeau Avenue in Gentilly, New Orleans police said. The robber then fled in a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado with a Louisiana license plate reading C703591.

Police also said that a black Jeep Cherokee with Louisiana license plate 305AAF may have been used in the stick-up after it was stolen from the 6700 block of Dorchester Street in New Orleans East on Feb. 8.

• New Orleans police late Tuesday asked for help in finding a man wanted for questioning in connection with a deadly shooting that occurred Sunday near Canal Street and North Claiborne Avenue. 

Police released surveillance camera images of a man they described as "a person of interest" to the case but not a suspect. 

The shooting was reported about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Officers found the victim lying under the elevated Interstate 10 expressway suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He died at the scene.

Police have not named a suspect or publicly discussed a motive for the killing. 

Staff writer Ramon Antonio Vargas compiled the second half of this report. 

Follow Matt Sledge on Twitter, @mgsledge.

msledge@theadvocate.com | (504) 636-7432