Buchanan named St. Charles deputy of year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2005

HAHNVILLE – Sometimes being in the right place at the right time can be considered a stroke of luck. But, if you don’t have the drive to excel or take the right step, a golden opportunity can be missed.

This, however, is an account of a deputy choosing to seize the moment and peruse the curious until all becomes clear.

Late in the evening on a Sunday in October, Deputy Vince Buchanan was running radar on Highway 90 in Luling when he spotted a speeding vehicle. He turned his overhead lights on and tried to stop the car. The driver began to drive erratically and refused to stop. Deputy Buchanan alerted headquarters of the pursuit and kept the vehicle in sight. The car hit the median on Hwy 90 and began to proceed the wrong way against traffic on Highway 90. Deputy Buchanan drove forward to alert oncoming traffic and to force the vehicle to stop.

The driver finally did stop in the parking lot of a new retail store. Deputy Buchanan got the driver out of the car and began the usual interview. However, this driver was a little different. He said he was 15, had no driver’s license and had clothing and camping equipment in the car. Deputy Buchanan persisted in his questioning and the boy then said the car belonged to his grandmother and that he had “stolen it.”

The passenger inside of the car was a teenage girl. She didn’t have much to say.

Deputy Buchanan began to run multiple computer checks and status on the vehicle, driver and the occupant. He was advised by headquarters to call in right away by telephone.

It was then that Deputy Buchanan learned that earlier that day the grandmother of the driver had been discovered murdered in Florida and that her car was missing. A missing person report had also been filed for the teenage girl. When headquarters had run the driver’s name, it was learned that he was being sought as a person of interest in the murder of his grandmother.

Deputy Buchanan, along with other members of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, began an intense effort to collect evidence, secure the scene and coordinate with authorities in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jacksonville PD detectives were astonished that their suspect had been located in such a timely fashion so far away. They immediately dispatched homicide detectives to St. Charles where the driver gave a full confession to the murder of his grandmother and important evidence was recovered from the vehicle.

The commanding officer of the Jacksonville Homicide Unit wrote “Through the efforts and assistance of your officers, this case was brought to a suitable conclusion and the citizens of both Louisiana and Florida can now feel safer because a murderer has been removed from their midst.”

Deputy Buchanan was at the right place, at the right time; but played a policeman’s hunch and went beyond just issuing a speeding ticket. His hunch played out and a murderer was arrested.

For his actions, Deputy Vincent Buchanan has been selected Deputy of the Year for the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Buchanan is the son of Dr. Robert and Jean Buchanan who live out of state. He is a 1987 graduate of LW Higgins High School. He served in the US Navy for 9 years.

Deputy Buchanan was a Resource Officer for Glynn County School Board in Georgia for a year. He has 5 years law enforcement experience and has been with the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office for a year and a half.