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Lafayette prosecutor awaits trial in hit-and-run boat crash

Posted at 9:09 PM, Mar 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-10 11:59:19-05

Our partners at WBRZ report, a prosecutor from Lafayette who was arrested on felony hit and run charges after witnesses say he hit children with his boat on False River and fled the scene is still waiting for his case to go to trial.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit found that since Chris Richard's arrest in August 2021, he's had five continuances in his case.

Officials said the three children were sharing a tube in the waterway when they were hit by a boat, reportedly being driven by Richard. Witnesses said that boat and its occupants fled the scene of the crash before law enforcement arrived.

The department said in a news release announcing the arrest that Richard reportedly jumped into the water to check on the kids but then got back on his boat and left. One of the children suffered a fractured pelvis and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Baton Rouge.

Tara Elwell owns a camp on False River. She also happens to be an attorney from Lafayette.

"It surprised me that a fellow attorney could bail on a situation," Elwell said. "We are supposed to be officers of the court and do good by people. To leave children knowing they are hurt. I can't understand it."

Chris Richard was booked on charges of felony hit and run, negligent injuring and careless operation. He bonded out of jail on a $40,000 bail.

Richard is now due back in court in April.

District Attorney Tony Clayton said his office is pursuing the felony charges that he was arrested on.

Richard's lawyer, Steven Moore, told WBRZ he did not think his client committed a hit and run since he stopped to check on the kids that were hurt.

To read WBRZ's full report, click here.

Richard has worked for the Lafayette District Attorney's Office for several years; when we last checked he was still employed there.