A lawsuit over a Jan. 20, 2011, crash that killed a Thibodaux veterinarian has resulted in a $2 million judgment against the Raceland driver who was deemed at fault.
James Dantin, 57, pleaded guilty Jan. 6, 2012, to vehicular homicide in the death of Dr. Kristofor “K.C.” Toups, 28. Dantin was sentenced to 30 years in prison and is being held at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel.
According to State Police, Dantin was driving a 2009 Nissan Maxima on La. 1 north of Raceland when he rear-ended Toups’ 2007 Chevrolet Silverado, forcing it into the other lane. The pickup collided with a garbage truck, and Toups died at the scene.
Toups, who worked at Lafourche Animal Hospital, was transporting animals to the hospital’s office in Cut Off. Five dogs and cats died, and one dog survived.
State Police said Dantin was speeding, and toxicology tests showed he had used cocaine before the crash. Dantin had already been convicted several times for driving while intoxicated.
Toups’ parents, Randy and Debbie Toups, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Jan. 17, 2012, against Dantin and his wife, who owned the Maxima. His wife was later removed from the lawsuit.
Baton Rouge attorney Scott Hawkins represented the plaintiffs.
“Mr. Dantin recognized that he couldn’t win the case, and Mr. and Mrs. Toups just wanted some closure for their son and themselves,” Hawkins said. “He’s only going to be incarcerated for a few more years (if he gets parole). He has the ability to earn money when he gets out. Essentially, the Toups want him to remember what he’s done.”
The plaintiffs and Dantin agreed to certain terms, including Dantin’s payment of $2 million plus judicial interest.
Hawkins said he hopes the judgment will help convince people not to drive while under the influence.
-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.
Posted on Tue, August 1, 2017
by By Bridget Mire Daily Comet Staff Writer