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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Vizinat pleads guilty

Vizinat pleads guilty

A man who killed two of his passengers while driving under the influence in 2013 was sentenced to a lengthy term of imprisonment Monday.

Jimmy Vizinat, 38, pled guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide before the Hon. F. Hugh Larose. Vizinat was accused of operating his vehicle while intoxicated on September 28, 2013. At one point, Vizinat crossed the centerline of Louisiana Highway 24 into the path of an 18 wheeler before overcorrecting and leaving the roadway to the right. His vehicle struck a tree, killing his two of his five passengers, Patricia Vega and Cari Scofield.

Vizinat was sentenced to 18 years in prison for each count of vehicular homicide, with the sentences to run concurrently. Because vehicular homicide is a crime of violence under Louisiana law, an offender must serve a minimum of 85 percent before he is eligible for early release.

“This is a tragic circumstance,” said Assistant District Attorney Ben Caillouet, who prosecuted the case. “Hopefully when Mr. Vizinat eventually gets out, he will think twice about ever driving again while impaired.”

Vizinat had previously pled guilty to the same crimes in July of 2014, but because he was unaware that vehicular homicide was classified as a crime of violence, he was allowed to withdraw those please by Judge Larose.

“With the new sentence, we are satisfied that the defendant will end up serving a much longer sentence than originally, considering the mandatory minimum term of incarceration as a crime of violence,” said District Attorney Camille A. Morvant, II.