Broussard arraigned for retrial in 2016 traffic death

Donald Broussard

Donald Broussard was in court again this week, being arraigned for his retrial on charges that he caused the death of a Bossier City man after a chase on U.S. 90 in 2016.

In June, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal threw out Broussard’s conviction and ordered a new trial based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Ramos v. Louisiana, which established that a unanimous verdict is required for a conviction in criminal cases.

In Broussard’s trial, the jury vote was 11-1.

Broussard entered a plea of not guilty at the arraignment. Attorney Harry Daniels, representing Broussard, also filed a motion to quash the prosecution of his client. That motion, and any others that are filed, will be taken up at a motions hearing on Jan. 7, with a jury trial set for Feb. 1.

Broussard was convicted in 2018 and initially sentenced to four years at hard labor for negligent homicide in the death of Rakeem Blakes, 24. Additionally, 16th Judicial District Court Judge Curtis Sigur also held Broussard in contempt of court for his repeated refusal to answer questions from prosecutors at his sentencing.

Sigur later resentenced Broussard, suspending three years of the four years at hard labor and imposing three years of supervised probation instead.

Blakes was killed on the morning of July 8, 2016, when his car hit a Kenworth truck on the eastbound U.S. 90 Service Road near Jefferson Island Road in Iberia Parish. According to State Police, the crash happened when Blakes’ vehicle crossed into the westbound lane of the service road and struck a Kenworth truck.

Minutes before, Broussard Police officers said Blakes was involved in a hit-and-run collision at the corner of Ambassador Caffery Parkway and U.S. 90 in Lafayette Parish, where he reportedly rear-ended a Cadillac driven by Broussard. Court records stated that later examination showed that the only visible damage to Broussard’s vehicle was a slight bend in the license plate.

According to witnesses, Broussard got out of his vehicle with a gun and threatened Blakes, then chased him along U.S. 90 until Blakes took an exit and hit the truck while trying to escape.

During his trial, Broussard took the stand in his own defense. He called the testimony of four independent eyewitnesses who said they saw him holding a gun during the confrontation “100 percent false,” despite the fact that he was recorded saying “I got my pistol on me. Either ya’ll going to meet in Iberia Parish and stop this guy or I am going to stop him,” on the 911 dispatcher recording of the incident which was played for the jurors.

On the tape, the dispatcher again instructed Broussard to stop the pursuit and he refused.

Broussard continued the pursuit until he witnessed the fiery crash — almost 10 miles from where the initial incident occurred. On the 911 recording he can be heard saying, “Yeah, oh yeah, God don’t sleep, God don’t sleep. He just wrecked into an 18-wheeler.”

Broussard, who led a recall effort against former Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal in 2015, insisted during his trial that his prosecution was a direct result of Ackal’s influence.

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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