Greensburg resident Brett Gerald faces a hearing Tuesday with seven counts of vehicular homicide in a DWI case that has many wondering why he was still driving.
Rogerick Johnson Jr., 14, died Sunday at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. The last survivor was visited by family members Saturday and many were with him Sunday when he died, according to published reports.
Gerald is expected to be charged with seven counts of vehicular homicide Tuesday, according to East Feliciana Parish District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla. Another bond hearing will be held then and the DA said he will oppose Gerald’s release on bond.
The driving record of Gerald, who turned 30 on the day of the accident, is known by the prosecutors.
Gerald was not charged with second-offense driving while intoxicated because prosecutors could not confirm that he had been convicted of a first offense, even though there were arrest reports.
According to published reports, Gerald has refused over the years to take tests that would indicate intoxication. And without some tests, prosecutors face a higher burden of proof to make a conviction in court.
How was a driver like Brett Gerald still driving after three or more DWI arrests? “That’s a good question. There’s no magic test we can give out there,” DA Sam Perrilloux said. “It’s certainly a very tragic case that probably could have been avoided.”
“It’s always difficult to know the degree of a problem an individual may have. On his first arrest, he was given a pre-trial diversion. Our office has a program like that. Many first-time DWI arrests deal with the problem they have. There are some people who are repeat offenders who are difficult to identify.”
The District Attorney’s office typically gets over a thousand convictions for DWI in a year. The numbers are up, according to Perrilloux, but maybe not because more people are drinking and driving. “I would attribute some of that to more enforcement, which leads to more cases that we can prosecute,” he said.