Ascension Parish fugitive apprehended in Ville Platte

Wade McIntyre
U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force member Corey Britt, left, escorts Michael Celestine into the Ville Platte police department Tuesday morning. Celestine is a fugitive from Ascension Parish where he confessed to a vehicle homicide charge.

A U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force in Ville Platte arrested a Gonzales man Tuesday who fled Ascension Parish after confessing to a charge of vehicular homicide.

Michael Celestine, 27, of 41418 Pappy Road, was arrested without incident at the home of a girlfriend on Young Street around 9:30 a.m., according to Corey Britt of the Task Force.

According to court records, Celestine pleaded guilty in December 2008 to the charge stemming from a June 2007 accident in Ascension Parish that killed Alton Mack, address unknown.

Celestine is accused of being under the influence of alcohol at the time, and having a blood alcohol level of 0.20.

He apparently fled Ascension Parish after making his plea, and failed to show up for a March 23, 2009 court date.

According to a member of the Task Force, authorities acted on a tip Monday that Celestine was in Ville Platte.

After searching three or four houses without finding Celestine, the Task Force obtained information that he might be at a girlfriend’s house.

Celestine was booked at the Ville Platte jail on an outstanding warrant from Ascension Parish for vehicular homicide and contempt of court, and will be returned to the parish and booked in the Donaldsonville jail.

Celestine faces imprisonment with or without hard labor for not less than five years, nor more than thirty. At least five years of the sentence must be without benefit of probation or a suspended sentence.

He also faces a fine of up to $15,000.

The court was to originally determine Celestine’s sentence after the review of a pre-sentence investigative report ordered by the court.

Vehicular homicide is the killing of another person while under the influence of alcohol or a combination of alcohol and drugs.