NEWS

Gonzales man charged with vehicular homicide, DWI in Ascension Parish crash

Staff Report

Louisiana State Police reported a fatal crash after midnight Feb. 27 on Hwy. 938 south of Hwy. 74 in Ascension Parish, which claimed the life of 56-year-old Willie Owens of Gonzales and resulted in the arrest of 31-year-old Jasper Bougere of Gonzales.

According to a news release, the initial investigation revealed the crash occurred as Bougere was traveling south on Hwy. 938, known as Coontrap Road, in a 1991 Chevrolet Camaro. At the same time, Owens was walking in the northbound lane of Hwy. 938.

For reasons still under investigation, the Chevrolet crossed the centerline into the opposing lane and struck Owens. After striking Owens, the Chevrolet proceeded off of the roadway and struck a utility pole.

Owens sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Impairment is unknown on the part of Owens, but a routine toxicology sample was obtained from him and will be submitted for analysis.

Impairment is suspected to be a factor in the crash on the part of Bourgere. Troopers arrested and booked Bougere into the Ascension Parish Jail near Donaldsonville on a charge of vehicular homicide and first-offense DWI.

"Time and time again, Troopers witness preventable motor vehicle crashes. Impairment and lack of seat belt usage are primary causes of crashes across the state of Louisiana. Nearly half of the fatal crashes in Louisiana are caused by impaired drivers," an LSP spokesperson stated. "Louisiana State Police urge motorists to have a plan in place that includes a designated driver when consuming alcohol. Alcohol can impair visual ability, alter sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills, and decrease reaction times. Alcohol can begin to impair a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle after just one drink. Please choose to not drive impaired or ride with an impaired driver, and always buckle up."