On May 14, 2018, Kenneth Lewis of 37313 Cornerview Rd. Geismar, LA., age 30, pled guilty to Vehicular Homicide and 1st Degree Vehicular Negligent Injuring. Lewis was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Joni Buquoi, and presiding over this matter was the Honorable Judge Jason Verdigets. This guilty plea comes after a 2017 fatal crash that claimed the life of 6-year-old Samantha Keating of Paulina, LA. and injured others.
On February 25, 2017, troopers with Louisiana State Police responded to the scene of a two-vehicle crash on I-10 eastbound just east of LA 44. During the course of the crash investigation, troopers learned that Kenneth Lewis was traveling eastbound in a Ford Mustang at a high rate of speed when he rear-ended a Toyota Highlander causing both vehicles to exit the roadway and crash into a wooded area along the interstate. Lewis was the sole occupant of the Mustang, and the Highlander was occupied by Samantha Keating along with her mother and father, Natalie and Anthony Keating. Natalie and Anthony were transported to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital to be treated for moderate injuries and Samantha was transported to St. Elizabeth Hospital where she was pronounced deceased. While interviewing Lewis, troopers detected an alcohol like odor emitting from his person. Lewis submitted to the Standardized Field of Sobriety Tests which he failed. Lewis was subsequently arrested and transported to the Gonzales Police Department where he submitted to a chemical breath test. Lewis’ blood alcohol concentration was .200g%. Lewis was then booked into the Ascension Parish Detention Center.
Upon entering a guilty plea to the above-mentioned charges, sentencing was deferred to a later date pending a Pre-Sentence Investigation. Lewis was remanded and remained incarcerated pending a sentencing hearing.
On Monday, August 13, 2018, Lewis appeared before Judge Verdigets for sentencing. Judge Verdigets ordered that Lewis be committed to the Louisiana Department of Corrections for a period of 22 ½ years with credit for time served. It was ordered that at least 15 years of the said sentence are to be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.