Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 280663. Honorable Ramona L. Emanuel, Judge.
CARLOS D. PRUDHOMME, Counsel for Appellant.
DALE G. COX, District Attorney, TOMMY J. JOHNSON, J. AARON CRAWFORD, GEORGE WINSTON, III, Assistant District Attorneys, Counsel for Appellee.
Before WILLIAMS, STEWART and CARAWAY, JJ.
[49,784 La.App. 2 Cir. 1]
The defendant, Rashunda D. Dock, was charged by bill of information with two counts of vehicular homicide, a violation of La. R.S. 14:32.1. Following a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty as charged of two counts of vehicular homicide. She was sentenced to serve 10 years at hard labor, with the first three years to be served without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for each count. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. The remainder of each sentence was suspended and she was given five years of supervised probation. The defendant filed a motion for a new trial and a motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal, which were denied by the trial court. The defendant now appeals. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the defendant's convictions and sentences.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On April 11, 2009, at approximately 8:45 p.m., at the intersection of Broadway Avenue and Tate Street/Illinois Street, in Shreveport, Louisiana, the defendant crashed into the passenger side of a vehicle driven by Shirley Mourning. Two passengers in Mourning's vehicle, two-year-old Tranita Thomas and 42-year-old Lashanda Thomas, were killed.
On August 18, 2011, via amended bill of information, the defendant was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, in violation of La. R.S. 14:32.1. The bill also charged Mourning with one count of negligent homicide. The defendant and Mourning were tried together.
The jury trial commenced on February 3, 2014. The following evidence was adduced at trial.
[49,784 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] At the time of the accident, the defendant was operating a Chevrolet Trailblazer southbound on Broadway Avenue, a four-lane highway, with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Mourning was operating a Chrysler 300 westbound on Tate Street crossing Broadway Avenue. Tate Street is a two-lane road, with a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour, which turns into Illinois Street once it crosses Broadway Avenue. A stop sign was located on Tate Street at the intersection with Broadway Avenue. In the middle of this
intersection, the defendant's vehicle collided with the passenger side of Mourning's vehicle. The vehicles then traveled to the southwest quadrant of the intersection, off the roadway, coming to a stop side by side in front of a building. Mourning's vehicle hit part of the building, causing damage.
Gabriel Morris, the passenger in the defendant's vehicle at the time of the accident, testified that on the day of the accident, he went to the defendant's house, where she was having a small family gathering. Morris stated that he brought two 32-ounce daiquiris to the defendant's house, one for the defendant and one for himself. He witnessed the defendant take a couple of sips of her daiquiri before they decided to go purchase some crawfish for the children. The defendant operated the vehicle. On their way back home with the crawfish, Morris testified that the defendant received a phone call concerning something her sister's boyfriend was doing to her son at her house. Morris stated that after the phone call, the defendant appeared mad and increased the speed of the vehicle. Approximately two minutes after the phone call, the accident occurred.
[49,784 La.App. 2 Cir. 3] Morris further testified that he was unsure about whether Mourning stopped at the stop sign, or whether she did a rolling stop. He stated that it was not possible for the defendant to avoid the accident. Morris also stated that he did not have any reservations about riding the defendant, that the defendant did not appear intoxicated, and that he did not have any problem with the defendant's driving until she started speeding.
Officer Wyatt Alexander of the Shreveport Police Department testified regarding his observations upon arriving at the accident scene. He determined Mourning to be at ...