Possible impairment and lack of seat belt were factors in Violet fatal crash, State Police said
A man died in an early morning single-vehicle crash in Violet on Jan. 31, State Police said, and possible impairment and the lack of a seat belt were factors.
Mathew Diecidue, 29, of Violet was killed in a crash on East Judge Perez Drive in Violet before 5 a.m.
Diecidue was driving a 2008 Ford F-150 east on LA 39. For unknown reasons, the truck struck the curb on the median and Diecidue lost control of the vehicle, which then traveled across the east travel lanes of LA 39, and struck a fence and a ditch.
The driver was the only occupant and was partially ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Diecidue was not wearing a seat belt and impairment is suspected, State Police said.
Toxicology results are pending an autopsy.
Look for Knights of Nemesis parade location updates Saturday, Feb. 7 on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page
A sheriff’s deputy on board the department’s Mobile Emergency Operations Center which leads the parade will post regular location updates on the Facebook page after Nemesis starts in Chalmette at 1 p.m.
“We did this for the first time in the Knights of Nemesis parade last year and people seemed to like the updates of where the parade was,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“We hope spectators, especially children, find it to be fun and helpful to know when the parade will approach their location,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The department’s mobile command post, acquired through a federal grant, is a great vehicle and is perfect for leading a parade, the sheriff said.
It will coordinate the running of the parade as well as road closings as it moves along the route, he said.
The mobile center also leads the Irish, Italian, Islenos parade in Chalmette and location updates are also posted on the Facebook page for that.
Deputies catch two Violet men exiting an abandoned structure and find a tool for opening car doors and a syringe, with other drug evidence found in building
Two Violet men were booked with burglary and drug paraphernalia counts after sheriff’s deputies caught them exiting an abandoned structure the night of Jan. 26 and a tool for burglary was found on one man and a syringe on the other, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Also, evidence of heroin use was found in the building that is in the 6400 block of Jules Brown Drive and the men had fresh needles marks on their arms, a report of the arrest said.
Kerry Fernandez, 26, 2412 St. Matthew Circle, and Keithrone Griffin, 23, 6524 Louis Elam, were both booked with burglary of the building, possession of drug paraphernalia and simple criminal damage to the building. Fernandez was also booked with possession of a tool for committing a crime.
Both are being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison.
Sheriff’s deputies Skyler Rauch and David Culpepper were conducting a check of an abandoned house at the same location about 8 p.m. when they heard movements inside a rear structure.
They saw the suspects exit the rear structure, ordered them to stop and detained them while investigating. They found a tool for opening car doors on Fernandez and a syringe on Griffin, the sheriff said.
Deputies also found the door of the rear structure had been forced open and the door window shattered. Inside, they found several items used to prepare and use heroin and a small plastic bag with powder residue, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Fresh needle marks and drying blood were found on both suspects’ arms.
Three deputies, Shane Lulei, Ryan Lopez and Lance Kramer, receive Life-Saver Award for saving a child who was unresponsive after falling into a home pool
Deputies Ryan Lopez and Lance Kramer, joined by off-duty Cpl. Shane Lulei, were at the Perrin Drive home within minutes of the call going out about 2 p.m. They immediately faced a scene of near-hysterical relatives with a boy on the ground after having been removed from a pool.
He was unresponsive and not breathing.
Lulei, Lopez and Kramer received the St. Bernard Kiwanis Club Life-Saver Award on Jan. 27 for their efforts that saved the child’s life that day.
The Kiwanis Club awards its Life-Saver Award four times a year to recognize sheriff’s deputies and parish firefighters who have gone above and beyond their duty.
Sam Catalanotto, chairman of the Life-Saver Committee, said the award “is our way of giving back to these guys for what they do’’ to protect the parish. Mitch Perkins, president of the Kiwanis Club this year, also participated in the award presentation.
Lopez, a six-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, immediately began CPR on the child on Jan. 4, assisted by Lulei, a 13-year Sheriff’s Office veteran who has also been with the Fire Department 15 years.
Kramer, who has been with the Sheriff’s Office 10 years, primarily dealt with comforting the family of the boy, who was from Massachusetts but had been visiting relatives on Perrin Drive with his parents. Lopez and Kramer are assigned to the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division while Lulei is in the Special Operations Division.
Lopez and Lulei worked on the child for several minutes before emergency medical technicians and Fire Department personnel arrived, with Lulei adjusting the boy’s body as Lopez did compressions.
After a while the CPR started to work, with the child showing improving signs. He began slowly spitting up water and was taken to a hospital for further treatment.
At St. Bernard Parish Hospital, both Kramer and Lulei were present when they heard the youngster cry out, a sign he was responsive again.
Lulei said when he heard the cry at the hospital, “It brought tears to my eyes.’’
“Hearing him cry was something I won’t forget,’’ Kramer said, because it was such a a relief.
Lopez wasn’t at the hospital but said when he heard the news the boy was doing better it was emotional for him. “I broke down,’’ he said.
The boy remains hospitalized in New Orleans, but has been recovering.
All three deputies thanked the Kiwanis Club members for recognizing first-responders.
Lulei also said he was encouraged when the child that day began spitting up water during CPR. “I figured every bit of water that came out was good.” Having been at the scene of a child drowning several years ago, Lulei said, he was determined not to see that repeated.
Lopez told the club members the officers “were in the right place at the right time.’’
Kramer also said, “Hopefully, the child makes a full recovery.’’
Sheriff James Pohlmann told the Kiwanis Club he is “very proud to have guys like this’’ who perform at a professional level under pressure. “They didn’t do it alone, though. It was a team effort with help from the emergency medical technicians and the Fire Department’’ when they arrived, he said.
Numerous other representatives of the Sheriff’s Office also attended the ceremony.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 14 of Chalmette, their parents and troop leaders toured the St. Bernard Parish Prison recently for a look at facilities. Lt. Justin Meyers of the Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division spoke to the group,, telling them roughly 235 adult men and women are held in the prison. Meyers also showed the troop items of contraband seized from prisoners which they had made and showed the in-take process for prisoners entering the jail, including the booking area, the room where they are finger-printed and photographed and the holding cells where they are kept until taken into the general population. Groups interested in possibly being shown the jail can call Dep. Sheriff Eric Eilers of the Community Relations Division at 278-7799.
Head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission says his group is interested in a possible study of the St. Bernard Parish criminal justice system
Rafael Goyeneche III, head of the 62-year-old citizens’ organization dedicated to exposing public corruption and reducing crime in the area, said at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon the MCC is discussing doing such a study. It would track arrests – especially felonies – through prosecution by the district attorney’s office and adjudication of cases by judges.
Similar studies have been done in Orleans and Jefferson parishes and the Crime Commission is discussing doing the same in St. Tammany as well as St. Bernard parishes, said Goyeneche.
The purpose of such research is to “raise the level of accountability and efficiency in the criminal justice system,’’ he said.
The non-profit MCC is known as a public watchdog and through its programs it holds public officials and employees accountable for corrupt, unethical, and wasteful practices as well as works to enhance the safety of the community, he said.
Goyenche elaborated on the possible study after his luncheon address, saying his group is interested in the project if there is a funding source available.
“It is a way of determining how well the criminal justice system is doing.’’ Goyeneche said of such an analysis. “You are talking about a more efficient criminal justice system in which each component of the system can be held accountable to the public.
“It introduces transparency to the system, identifies strengths and weakness that can be made stronger,’’ he said.
The group would issue a criminal justice accountability report after the study, Goyeneche said.
“We would track arrests and break down the data by misdemeanors and felonies.’’ he said. “We fellow felony arrests and determine their outcome, including the number accepted by the District Attorney’s Office and what happens from there.
“The number of arrests being made doesn’t mean anything until you know the outcomes,’’ Goyeneche said. “The objective is to convert a felony arrest to a felony conviction,’’ rather than to have felonies reduced to misdemeanors.
The project would also track performance of the judiciary.
A project would study each judge’s caseload, the percentage of cases cleared over a year and case processing time.
“From that comes information on how well a judge is moving a docket,’’ Goyeneche said.
When cases move too slowly it affects the whole system, from the law enforcement end, the prosecutors’ end and public defenders, Goyeneche said. “Justice delayed is justice denied.’’
Goyeneche, in his luncheon talk, also said St. Bernard doesn’t experience the level of violence seen in some parishes and that primarily its problem is property crime fueled by drug abusers stealing to get money to buy drugs, which is being seen across the nation.
Goyeneche’s group has been active over the years in receiving tips about public corruption and turning information over to investigative agencies. But he said it may be that since Hurricane Katrina there is less public tolerance of corruption and public officials are taking their cue from that.
Tips about public corruption have slowed, he said.
Sheriff James Pohlmann thanks volunteers in the Reserve Division as 10 graduate a basic law enforcement training program; Says the public notices the professionalism officers display
Sheriff James Pohlmann thanked volunteers who donate their time to the department’s Reserve Division at a ceremony in which eight men and two women graduated a basic law enforcement 80-hour training program and told them the public notices the professionalism officers display.
Gone are the old days when new officers with little training were put on the streets to patrol St. Bernard Parish, Sheriff Pohlmann said at a ceremony in the Sheriff’s Office Training Center in Chalmette.
Today, the emphasis is on training, the sheriff said, whether an officer is full-time or a volunteer in the Reserve Division, which supplements the work of the regular force.
The sheriff thanked the Reserve Division officers for giving up their personal time to help keep St. Bernard Parish safe.
“Law enforcement is challenging today,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “It says a lot about people willing to do the job of law enforcement.’’
“We are fortunate’’ in the parish, the sheriff said. “We have a good relationship with the community, based on trust.”
The public notices the professionalism of our officers and gives the department high job performance ratings, he said. “And it is because of the job you do.’’
The Reserve Division, headed by Capt. Charles Borchers who is also head of Community Relations for the Sheriff’s Office, is now up to nearly 30 members.
In the Jan. 15 ceremony, eight men and five women from the group graduated an 80-hour basic law enforcement training program given by various instructors.
Those Reserve Division members who underwent the training were Tanya Palazzalo, Michael Bendich, Raul Vallecillo, Simon Gonzales, Michael Chutz, Harold Larter, Edward Manint, Dennis Trocchiano, Ray Tauzier and Melissa Wickboldt.
Larter and Vallecillo were recognized for receiving the group’s “Always There Award,’’ which is named in honor of Deputy Sheriff Sgt. Johnny Huff, now deceased, who started as a St. Bernard reserve deputy in the 1980s and became a full-time officer in 1995.
Capt. Borchers said he is accepting applications for the Reserve Division from St. Bernard Parish residents who have a clean police record and would like to serve their community.
Borchers can be reached at (504) 278-7628 for further information and applicants will be directed to fill out further paper work.
To apply for the Reserve Division an applicant:
– Must live in St. Bernard Parish.
– Be able to pass a background check and a drug screen, which would be done on all applicants.
– Be at least 21 years old.
– Have attained a GED or better.
Two N.O. men arrested in a stolen truck after fleeing from sheriff’s deputies who tried to stop them
Two New Orleans men were arrested in a stolen truck after fleeing from sheriff’s deputies who tried to stop them, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Keith Taylor and Kerry Smith, both 36, were arrested Jan. 12 and booked with possession of stolen property after sheriff’s deputies Brad Nuccio and Kenny Sierra boxed in the Ram pickup truck they were riding in on Paris Road and forced them to stop in the 4000 block, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The truck had been identified as reported stolen in New Orleans. When deputies tried to stop them, Taylor, who was driving, quickly made a U-turn from the south-bound right-hand lane on Paris Road and headed north-bound toward New Orleans, nearly causing accidents with other motorists, the sheriff said.
The driver’s door lock had been broken on the truck, as well as the ignition, and no keys were found inside the vehicle or on the suspects, the sheriff said. A screw driver was found on the driver’s side floorboard, which likely had been used to start the vehicle.
Both men were booked into St. Bernard Parish Prison. Taylor was booked with aggravated flight from officers as well as possession of stolen property and was also held on an arrest warrant from Jefferson Parish.
Taylor was being held in lieu of $14,000 bond and Smith was jailed in lieu of $11,000 bond.
Perry Nicosia sworn in as District Attorney; Pledges to work with the Sheriff’s Office to keep St. Bernard safe
Perry Nicosia was sworn in Sunday night as only the second District Attorney in the history of the 34th Judicial District in St. Bernard Parish and he pledged to work with the Sheriff’s Office to keep the parish safe.
“I am committed to this job and am so excited’’ to begin his six-year term of District Attorney, Nicosia said after he was sworn in by friend and Clerk of Court Randy Nunez as Nicosia’s wife, Nicole, his parents and others surrounded him in the large courtroom in the Parish Courthouse.
He said he will work closely with the Sheriff’s Office to prosecute cases that have been brought to his office.
Nicosia ran to succeed John F. “Jack’’ Rowley who was the only person to serve as District Attorney of St. Bernard since the 34th Judicial District was created in 1978. Rowley, who won the first election for the office in 1978 and was re-elected five more times, retired last year rather than seek a new term.
Rowley died in November after Nicosia was elected to succeed him and Nicosia was appointed by the Parish Council to serve out the remainder of Rowley’s term before beginning his own term.
Nicosia thanked his parents and supporters after he was sworn in and said that while serving as a district judge since 2010 he had become concerned about crime in general and the amount of guns he saw were being found in arrests in St. Bernard Parish. He said he ran for district attorney to help keep the parish safe.
“I am forever grateful’’ to the people who helped him attain the office he won last fall, Nicosia said.
Numerous elected officials, including all the district judges, Sheriff James Pohlmann, Assessor Jaylynn Bergeron Turner and several Council members attended the ceremony.
A New Orleans man was arrested in Chalmette while driving a vehicle with a large amount of powdered cocaine in two plastic bags concealed in the gasoline tank hatch, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Charles Milton, 34, is being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison in lieu of bond set at $65,000. He was booked with possession of 34 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute, with improper display of a license plate and with driving on a suspended driver’s license.
Dep. Sheriff Dustin Gould spotted Milton driving west on West Judge Perez Drive about 8 p.m. on Jan. 5, with an improper license plate displayed, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
When stopped, Milton couldn’t provide the officer with a valid driver’s license and it was learned his license was suspended.
Then Gould spotted a portion of clear plastic hanging from inside the car’s gasoline tank hatch, the sheriff said. When he opened the hatch he saw two clear plastic bags containing an off-white powdered substance which tested positive for cocaine.
The officer also found $1,526 in cash in the vehicle.
Milton was also questioned by officers from the Special Investigations Division and admitted the cocaine was his and said he had purchased it and intended to re-sell it, Sheriff Pohlmann said.