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$1 Million Awarded in Woman’s Death

Published: March 8, 2007

NEW ROADS — A Pointe Coupee Parish jury decided in a civil case to award the parents of a young woman killed in an automobile accident $1 million each.

The jury found in its Feb. 28 decision that the state Department of Transportation and Development was negligent in maintaining the shoulders of La. 411 near the Pointe Coupee-Iberville parish line.

William and Rozena Harris of Maringouin were awarded $1 million each for the death of Kimberly Harris, 18 when she died Jan. 1, 2001.

Kimberly Harris was riding to her parents’ home on New Years Eve 2000 in a car driven by her boyfriend, Ricky Celestine, after visiting friends in New Roads.

She had called her parents on a cell phone and told them she was nearing their house.

The car ran off the pavement then hit a drop-off. Celestine tried to get back in the proper lane, but over-corrected.

The vehicle then hit a tree in the road right-of-way.

Plaintiff’s attorney Rob Marionneaux presented evidence that DOTD records showed the highway shoulders had not been regularly maintained.

The jury found Celestine 30 percent at fault and DOTD 70 percent at fault.

Marionneaux was assisted by attorneys Chuck Ward and Lewis Unglesby. Doug Cockeran represented the state.

Judge Robin Free of the 18th Judicial District presided over the trial.

Story originally published in The Advocate

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Samuel C. Ward Jr. & Associates
Samuel C. Ward Jr. & Associates, Attorneys at Law, is located in Baton Rouge, LA and serves clients in and around Baton Rouge, Baker, Brusly, Addis, Port Allen, Sunshine, Zachary, Saint Gabriel, Watson, Greenwell Springs, Carville, Bueche, Erwinville, Grosse Tete, Duplessis, Plaquemine, Glynn, Prairieville, Bayou Goula, Pride, Ascension County, East Baton Rouge County, East Feliciana County, Iberville County and West Baton Rouge County.

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