*It’s Tuesday, 8 PM and Deonte Williams, Cody Mayes and Tevin Wilson are making their, way along the North Chataignier Street, close to their Ville Platte, Louisiana homes.
The street is narrow, with no sidewalks and few streetlights to illuminate the road on either side, notoriously terrible conditions for any pedestrians passing through the neighborhood.
Yet, the young men are taking every precaution they can; they’re sticking to the patches of grass and dirt just by the house-fronts as they make their way.
That’s when it happens.
“He must have had his lights off, and going pretty fast because it hit all three of us,”
Says Deonte recounting what he remembers of the accident.
“I just wake up; my cousin [is] telling me…Don’t get up,’ and I was just full of blood…When I wake up, I don’t see nobody with the truck there. I don’t see nothing but the ambulance leaving with me.”
Wilson, the youngest of the three, recalls that initially the driver seemed in a hurry to leave, a situation that was only avoided because nearby residents started coming out of their houses.
“At first, he was going to keep going … everyone started coming out of their house, but if they didn’t come out of their house, I really believe he was going to keep going,”
Luckily though all three boys escape with minor injuries, and they’re allowed to return home to recover. Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the ordeal, the Louisiana police have a surprise waiting for them; all three boys are informed that they’re being charged in relation to the incident.
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Local authorities say that as the victims of the accident are in fact at fault, for not wearing appropriate reflective gear and for “obstructing a public passage”. As for the driver, police say he was blinded by lights from oncoming traffic and thus had no opportunity to sight the teenagers, he faces no official charges for running over three people.
Williams, Mayes and Wilson are in disbelief at the news.
“For me to find out that this guy gets to just go home, we all get some misdemeanors and nothing happened to him..I’m upset about it.”
While they’re willing to accept a misdemeanor charge for not wearing reflective clothing , the three plan to fight the obstruction charges in court.
As for local Evangeline Parish community members, they just want to see justice served. Community activities Arthur Sampson says,
“It’s time for this to stop. You know I’m not prejudiced or anything, but it seems like every time something happens [where] black and white are involved, the black is the victim. There’s no justice here.”
For their part, Ville Platte Police are stating that the case is still under investigation and that further charges against the driver are still possible. It seems that in a rush to blame victims, the police might have left out some vital police work there.