According to a press release issued by Louisiana State Police Public Information Officer David Anderson, 39 year old Todd Vincent of Erath struck the vehicle of 41-year-old Priscilla Williams of Franklin, in a head-on collision. Williams, as well as her 15-year-old son and 51-year-old brother Leroy Williams of Franklin were all pronounced dead at the scene.
Although the initial state police report said alcohol and drugs were not suspected, a chemi-cal test recently confirmed Vincent was under the influence of Oxycodone and marijuana derivatives at the time.
The Daily Advertiser reported that the incident occurred after Vincent had already received three DWI, first-offense arrests in Vermilion Parish.
Abbeville Police Chief Rick Coleman said he is disdainful about the fact that Vincent had three prior DWI arrests, yet he was treated as a first-time offender each time. Coleman said “the system in general” is at fault for not enforcing strict DWI offenses.
“They had the opportunity to remove him (from the streets) twice it looks like; now he’s killed three people,” Coleman said.
Coleman said he has seen an increase in DWI arrests in Abbeville since he has been chief; however, he attributes that to police efforts to catch all traffic perpetrators.
“We’ve targeted that--DWIs and traffic violations--to try to make our city safer,” he said.
Coleman reported there have been three traffic fatalities in Abbeville since 2007. Only one of them was due to drugs or alcohol.
Vincent was charged with Driving Left of Center and Operating a Vehicle with an Invalid Drivers License at the time of the offense.
An arraignment hearing for Vincent’s second DWI offense, which occurred July 9, 2008 is scheduled for March 24 in Vermilion Parish. An arraignment has not yet been set for the January fatal crash.
Troop I reported there have been 12 fatal crashes resulting in 16 persons killed in collisions since January of this year for the division that includes Evangeline, St. Landry, Acadia, Lafayette, St. Martin, Vermilion, Iberia and St. Mary Parishes.
Louisiana State Police have stated they maintain a zero-tolerance policy for people who choose to operate a motor vehicle while impaired, un-restrained or without insurance.