Destrehan man gets 40-year sentence from 2004 accident

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 22, 2005


Managing Editor

HAHNVILLE — A Destrehan man involved in the March 27, 2004 fatality accident on Airline Highway in Norco was sentenced recently to 40 years in prison.

A 1989 Ford F-150 pickup was identified by witnesses as belonging to Jerry Bellow, 34, of Destrehan. When police located him, Bellow’s blood alcohol level was measured at .109, which was over the legal limit of .08 percent.

Bellow had pulled out at 5:43 p.m., from the Spillway Road onto Airline Highway and barely avoided hitting Juan Fernandez, 19, of New Orleans, who was traveling in the southbound inside lane.

Fernandez, in his 1989 Crown Victoria, swerved across the centerline and struck a 1989 Chevrolet Tahoe, with Jimmy and

Margaret Powe. The impact killed Hernandez and seriously injured the Powes.

Bellow fled the scene of the accident and was located two hours later. It was estimated that at the time of the accident, Bellow’s blood alcohol level was .16, or twice the legal limit.

Bellow was convicted on the following charges: fifth-offense driving while intoxicated, vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular negligent injuring, and felony hit-and-run driving.

He was sentenced on Dec. 13 to 30 years in prison each for the vehicular homicide and DWI charges, to be served concurrently. Also, he was sentenced to five years for each count of negligent injuring, to likewise be served concurrent with the above charges.

Additionally, Bellow will serve an additional 10 years on the hit-and-run charge, to be served consecutively to the above charges.

Margaret Powe, executive director of the St. Charles Council on Aging, sustained a punctured lung, cracked collarbone and broken ribs, among other injuries. She also lost her spleen. Her husband, Jimmy, sustained a broken breastbone and other injuries. Powe returned part-time to her job by September 2004 and full-time by January 2005. They attended the sentencing and said, &#8220It was very emotional.”