A spokesman for the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s office declined to comment on the family’s statements.
NEW ORLEANS – While a Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s deputy is recovering from hip and leg injuries he suffered when he was hit by an 18-year-old on a four-wheel, all-terrain-vehicle early Tuesday, the driver of the ATV is himself clinging to life in a hospital, his family said.
And while the family of Reginal Hamilton offered their sympathies for the injured deputy, they have serious questions about the sheriff’s office version of the crash.
Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jerry Turlich said his deputies began to chase the two men after they failed to stop on the officers’ orders. The injured deputy drove ahead of Hamilton and was hit as he stepped out of his squad car while trying to halt the ATV and lay a spike strip across the road, Turlich said.
In his press briefing earlier this week, Turlich said Hamilton will be booked with attempted murder of an officer.
The crash occurred on the Orleans Parish side of the parish line near the foot of the Woodland Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway at about 2:30 am Tuesday. But that’s about all that Hamilton’s family and the sheriff’s office agree on.
Devonta Wyatt, a family representative, said Hamilton and a friend were on the other side of the bridge from their home in the cut-off neighborhood of Algiers after setting out some fishing lines earlier that night. She said Hamilton had never been in trouble with the law.
“The family believes that Reginald was extremely fearful and was just trying to flee to make it one this side of the Woodland Bridge,” Wyatt said. The boys were traveling very slowly down Woodland Highway. So there wasn’t anything reckless about what they were doing. “
Wyatt acknowledges that the two young men probably sped away as deputies started to chase them, she said Hamilton would never set out to harm anyone, much less a law enforcement officer. Furthermore, the impact was hard enough to result in serious injuries to Hamilton as he was sent flying off the ATV.
“Reginald is right now in the ICU, he’s unresponsive and he’s on a ventilator,” Wyatt said.
But Turlich accused of Hamilton of intentionally hitting his deputy.
“The bike would have missed him and at the last second veered right at the officer. Right at the officer, ”Turlich said Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s office declined to comment on the family’s statements Thursday, referring all questions to the State Police.
The State Police, which has taken over the investigation, has not released any of its findings.
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