On February 22, 2018, Thomas Bowers of 26232 Kendalwood Rd. Baton Rouge, LA., age 44, pled guilty to the charge of Vehicular Homicide. Bowers was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Steven Tureau and Kenneth Dupaty. Presiding over this matter was the Honorable Judge Alvin Turner Jr. This guilty plea was the result of a plea agreement with prosecutors just moments prior to jury selection for Bower’s scheduled trial following a 2015 fatal car crash.
On August 4, 2015 at approximately 11:32 pm, troopers with the Louisiana State Police responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 42 west of Hwy 44 in Ascension Parish. Upon arrival troopers determined that Bowers was traveling eastbound on Hwy 42 in his Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck when he failed to stop for a stalled vehicle in the eastbound lane. As a result, Bowers rear-ended a Mazda Tribute sedan. At the time of the collision, 18-year-old Richard Billingsley II who was a passenger in the Mazda sedan, was attempting to push the car from behind out of the lane of travel and was struck by Bowers’ vehicle. Billingsley was pronounced deceased on scene by the Ascension Parish Coroner’s Office. It should be noted that at the time of the collision, the Mazda sedan’s emergency flashers were fully functional.
Upon making contact with Bowers, troopers observed obvious signs of impairment and detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Bowers’ person. Bowers was given an opportunity to submit to a series of Standardized Field of Sobriety Tests which he refused. Troopers then obtained a blood sample from Bowers for toxicology screening which was submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. Bowers was subsequently booked into the Ascension Parish Jail. The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab later determined that Bowers’ blood alcohol concentration on the night of the crash was .143g%.
Upon entering a guilty plea to the above-mentioned charge, as per the plea agreement with prosecutors, Judge Turner ordered that sentencing be deferred to a later date pending a Pre-Sentence Investigation.
On May 21, 2018, Bowers appeared before Judge Turner for sentencing. Judge Turner ordered that Bowers be committed to the Louisiana Department of Corrections for a period of 20 years at hard labor with credit for time served, with 3 years being without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.