A New Iberia man who was instrumental in the drive to recall Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal last year has been indicted for manslaughter in the aftermath of an alleged road rage incident that left a Bossier City man dead in July.
Rakeem Blakes, 24, of Bossier City, died on the morning of July 8 when his car hit a Kenworth truck on the eastbound U.S. 90 Service Road near Jefferson Island Road. The initial investigation by State Police indicated the fiery crash happened as Blakes was driving a 2006 Ford Explorer on the service road and failed to negotiate a curve. The vehicle he was driving crossed into the westbound lane and struck a 1990 Kenworth operated by Billy Romero, 69, of New Iberia.
But moments 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 Donald Broussard of New Iberia, who led the recall effort against Ackal.
According to 16th Judicial District District Attorney Bo Duhé, the case involving Broussard was turned over to his office for review in November after the LSP investigation into the fatal crash was complete. Assistant District Attorney Janet Perrodin reviewed the investigation and presented the case to a grand jury Friday, which returned a true bill indicting Broussard for manslaughter and aggravated obstruction of a highway, which led to Blakes’ death.
“The definition of manslaughter in the state statute allows the charge to be brought when the offender is engaged in the perpetration of any intentional misdemeanor directly affecting the person,” Duhé said Friday afternoon. “And aggravated obstruction of a highway, although it is a misdemeanor, is the performance of any act on a highway where human life might be endangered.”
After the indictment, Duhé’s office will draft an arrest warrant to be served on Broussard.
The penalty for manslaughter is up to 40 years. The penalty for aggravated obstruction of a highway is up to 15 years.
Duhé said bond was set on the manslaughter charge at $75,000. Bond for the aggravated obstruction charge was set at $10,000.
In July, Broussard said he followed Blakes when he left the scene of the initial contact, but did not chase Blakes. He also discounted reports that he had a gun, and that Blakes fled the scene after Broussard approached his car.
Broussard has said previously that any reports of him having a firearm are ridiculous.
“I don’t even own a gun,” Broussard said. “I told the State Police they could search my car. They just handed me my license and let me go on my way.”
According to Broussard, Blakes was driving erratically, causing a hazard for other drivers.
“The guy hit me in Broussard,” Broussard said. “I got to within 20 feet of him so I could get his license plate number. I gave it to the dispatcher and they told me to fall back, so I fell back.”
A toxicology sample was taken from Blakes and submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
The recall against Ackal eventually failed for a lack of signatures. More than 15,000 would have been required for the recall petition to succeed.