Woman succumbs to injuries from Boutte bus wreck

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2009

Staff Reporter

BOUTTE – A Harvey man was booked with one count of vehicular homicide and 31 counts of vehicular negligent injury following a three-vehicle accident involving a school bus on U.S. 90 in Boutte Friday, according to a release from State Police.

Senior Trooper Joseph Piglia said Paula Nazio, 40, of Paradis suffered fatal injuries after her Toyota 4-Runner SUV was pushed into the path of a St. Charles Parish school bus by 45-year-old Richard T. Laurent, who was driving a 2007 Suzuki passenger vehicle. Piglia said Nazio was transported to St. Charles Parish Hospital, where she was treated in the intensive care unit before succumbing to her injuries Saturday morning.

According to State Police, Laurent was intoxicated at the time of the crash, which happened around 3 p.m. Friday. Piglia said Laurent was speeding and weaving on the highway.

A release from State Police said Laurent was traveling westbound on U.S. 90 when he hit the back of Nazio’s SUV. The SUV crossed the median of U.S. 90, entered the eastbound lanes and slammed into the school bus. Following impact, the bus veered to the right of the road and ended up in a drainage ditch.

Piglia said 30 students and one driver, 71-year-old Earl Tastet of Luling, were onboard the bus at the time of the accident. Piglia said all passengers were taken to St. Charles Parish Hospital for treatment. He said Tastet and three of the students were injured, but none of the injuries were serious. Piglia said all were treated and released.

Piglia said Laurent, who lists an address of 1804 Redwood Drive in Harvey, was treated for minor injuries, released and arrested. He was transported to the Nelson Coleman Correctional Facility in Killona, where he has been booked with driving while intoxicated and reckless operation of a motor vehicle in addition to vehicular homicide and 31 counts of vehicular negligent injury. Capt. Pat Yoes, public information officer for the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office, said Laurent is being held without bond.