Carl Broussard, the former high school coach convicted of leaving the scene of a double fatality collision with pedestrians, will be spending nearly six months in the Orange County Jail.
State District Judge Buddie Hahn, who on Monday gave Broussard probation for the felony in connection with killing a young mother and her daughter, has ordered Broussard to the Orange County Jail on June 15.
When announcing the probation in the courtroom, Hahn said he had the option of sending Brousssard to jail. The order has been made. Broussard will have the option of surrendering to the jail earlier, if he chooses. He will then spend 180 days straight in the Orange County Jail.
Broussard faced two to 20 years in state prison for each charge of failure to stop. Judge Hahn gave him a 10-year probated sentence for prison and a total $10,000 fine. The judge, before announcing the sentence, said “his failure to stop did not cause their deaths.”
Broussard was driving a car that hit and killed 25-year-old Ava Lewis and her 6-year-old daughter, Lamya on November 2, 2015. After hitting the two, he drove away. During testimony in his punishment hearing Monday, witnesses said he could be seen stopping briefly and then driving away.
The mother and daughter were crossing the seven-lane MacArthur Drive at night in a poorly-lit area. According to the testimony, the roadway had recently been paved with new asphalt and no traffic lane lines had been painted.
Broussard testified he thought he hit an animal because the windshield of the Chevrolet Geo was shattered. He said he drove to his girlfriend’s house and had to lean toward the passenger side to see out the windshield. His girlfriend drove to the collision scene and learned he had hit two people. She then told him to hide his car in her garage.
At the time, he was a coach and shop teacher at West Orange-Stark High School. He went to work the next day and surrendered to police that night, about 25 hours after the mother and child were hit. He also resigned from his job.
While Broussard was on the stand, Assistant District Attorney Mike Marion talked about him waiting so long and making police continue to look for the person who killed the two.
Broussard pleaded guilty in March to two counts of leaving the scene and asked the judge to determine his punishment. Judge Hahn ordered a pre-sentencing investigation and presided over the hearing, which took most of the day Monday.
During the testimony, Defense Attorney Paul Fukuda pointed out that a surveillance video at the Kroger fuel station on 16th Street showed Broussard putting gas into the car minutes before the collision. He did not appear intoxicated and did not buy beer. Another surveillance video from a business on MacArthur Drive showed Broussard’s car was not speeding and was not traveling erratically, Fukuda pointed out.
Fukuda said when Broussard called him for representation the day after the collision, he told the coach to have drug tests made, including a hair test. The tests showed no illegal drugs or alcohol in his system. The attorney said tests on Ava Lewis showed she was at three times the legal level of intoxication from alcohol.
The Texas Legislature in 2013 made failure to stop and render aid in a fatality or serious injury collision into a second degree felony carrying the same range of punishment as a charge of intoxication manslaughter.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-