Inside Report for July 2, 2013

Unknowns and knowns in Sibley case

To borrow a phrase from former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, there are many “known knowns” in the fatal hit-and-run crash allegedly involving Livingston School Board President Malcolm Sibley.

William Cody Iasigi, 21, of Liberty, Miss., died at a hospital June 15 after he was hit by a pickup truck on La. 43 just north of Greensburg in St. Helena Parish.

According to State Police, Iasigi had stopped the truck he was driving after he and a passenger began arguing. The passenger got out and Iasigi drove off, but Iasigi later returned and then also got out of the truck.

That’s when Iasigi, and the door of his truck, were struck by a 2012 GMC 2500 pickup. The driver of that truck, allegedly Sibley, drove away.

Sibley was arrested a day later and booked on felony hit-and-run.

For as many publicized details as there are about the case, there are many details missing — “known unknowns,” if you will.

No one is saying much to the news media at this point, including State Police, School Board members, and family and friends of both Sibley and Iasigi.

Why were Sibley and Iasigi driving on a rural, two-lane St. Helena highway at 5 in the morning? Did the driver, allegedly Sibley, know he hit a person? Will Sibley keep his position on the School Board?

Some of those questions have been answered — but only partially.

Sibley and his family have declined comment from the beginning, sending all inquiries to Albany attorney Sherman Mack.

Mack has said Sibley will not say anything publicly until the State Police investigation is complete, which could take weeks.

Mack has said Sibley was driving in St. Helena for work related to Sibley’s timber company. The attorney also has said Sibley did not have another passenger with him.

Mack has said Sibley is remorseful over the accident. But Mack offered few specifics beyond that.

Mack and School Board members also have said they’re not sure if Sibley will remain on the board.

Livingston Parish School Board members repeatedly defended Sibley in interviews shortly after his arrest. But since then, they’ve kept quiet to the news media.

Residents in the town of Livingston approached June 19 about Sibley effused praise about him. But only a few were willing to talk on the record, given the pending criminal case.

Family members of the victim, Iasigi, have been difficult to reach — at least by the news media.

Phone numbers listed for his parents routinely come up either as disconnected or as wrong numbers. Only one family member — his stepbrother, Van Evans — has been reached by phone, at his home in Marksville, but has since not returned phone calls to The Advocate.

A Kentwood relative of Thomas Bailey, one of the passengers in Iasigi’s truck, declined comment, then later hung up the phone when asked about contact information for Iasigi’s family. A phone number listed for Bailey in Kentwood rings but does not allow for voice messages.

No contact information has been found for Jarrett Wilson, 23, of Osyka, Miss., the other passenger in Iasigi’s truck.

There you have it. Many subjects, but many “known unknowns” left behind.

What we also don’t know, at least now, are any potential “unknown unknowns.”

Robert Stewart is a reporter in the Florida Parishes bureau for The Advocate. His email address is rstewart@theadvocate.com.