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Lafayette attorney at center of False River boat incident arrested

Chris Richard.jpg
Posted at 3:23 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 23:38:08-04

An assistant district attorney in Lafayette is facing charges for a boat crash on False River last week.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents arrested a 64-year-old Chris Richard of Carencro on Monday, August 16 for his alleged involvement in a boating incident that occurred in Pointe Coupee Parish.

Richard was arrested on felony hit and run, careless operation of a vessel, and negligent injury charges and booked into the Pointe Coupee Parish Jail. He has since bonded out of jail, records show.

The arrest comes more than a week after three children, ages 8, 11, and 14, were injured in the crash, which Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Rene' Thibodeaux described as "very severe." The 8-year-old was airlifted to Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge after suffering a fractured pelvis. Thibodeaux said the child remains in the hospital Monday night.

"Thank God there's no fatalities, but one child is still facing some downtime and some injuries right now," he added. "He could not feel his legs. That's a scary moment for a child, the parents, and everyone else there."

Agents say they started investigating a boating incident on the south end of False River on Aug. 8.

Through the investigation agents, they learned that Richard was operating a 20-foot pontoon boat at 4:25 p.m. when he collided with three juveniles being pulled on a tube from another vessel.

According to witnesses and those involved with the incident, Richard initially jumped in the water to check on the three juveniles, but then got back in his boat and left the scene to go back to his camp on False River and then home to Carencro.

Agents say they interviewed more than a dozen witnesses, some still at the scene after the incident, and others were located days later.

Richard was booked into jail eight days after the crash.

"There was a hang up there, I think that's why it took so long. There was confusion - did he render any help to the kids, or just the two people he was pulling on his boat?" said Thibodeaux. "A lot of people said, 'Why did it take so long?' I understand that. The end result, I felt, was coming."

Because Richard is an ADA in Lafayette, we reached out to District Attorney Don Landry regarding Richard's employment status. Landry declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation. We also reached out to the attorney representing Richard, but have not yet heard back.

Back in Pointe Coupee Parish, Sheriff Thibodeaux said the victims continue to recover.

"He is still facing complications right now as a result of this accident," he said of the 8-year-old. "The other child had a bruised ankle, the third child had a few bruises."

Felony hit and run brings up to a $5,000 fine and 10 years in jail. Negligent injury carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail. Careless operation of a vessel brings up to a $300 fine and 30 days in jail.

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