A Greenwell Springs man was arrested Thursday after Louisiana State Police found he had illegal drugs in his system last month when he crashed his pickup head-on into a car, killing the driver, court documents say.
Matthew Harding, 30, had amphetamines and a marijuana metabolite in his system on July 11 when his 2006 GMC crossed the center line of Liberty Road and hit an oncoming 2005 Toyota Corolla, an affidavit of probable cause says. A marijuana metabolite is a form of the drug after it has been absorbed and processed through the body.
The driver of the Corolla, Nancy Pierce, 48, of Clinton, was killed instantly, the affidavit says. Harding was not injured. An East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy told troopers investigating the incident that prior to the crash he saw Harding sleeping in his pickup, which was parked in front of a gas station near La. 64 and Plank Road, the affidavit says.
The deputy told Harding he could not sleep while parked in front of the store but could move to the side of the store if he needed to nap, the affidavit says.
The deputy told Harding the same thing after he came out of the store and found him still parked and sleeping in the front lot. Harding told the deputy he was tired because he had been working long hours at his job, the affidavit says.
He then went inside, purchased several items and drove off. After the crash, Harding told troopers he couldn’t recall “the details of what caused” the crash, the affidavit says. Harding said “he only remembered the impact.”
Harding submitted to a chemical breath test, which cited no alcohol in his system, the affidavit said.
He also provided investigators with a urine sample, the results of which weren’t available until Thursday.
Because of those results, Harding, 18179 Pride-Baywood Road, was arrested and booked into Parish Prison on one count each of vehicular homicide, third-offense DWI, reckless operation, driving left of center, aggravated obstruction of a highway and no seat belt.
One of Harding’s previous DWI arrests occurred on July 10, 2003, court documents show. The other one happened on March 2 of that year.
The July 10, 2003, arrest occurred in East Baton Rouge Parish near La. 30 and Bob Petite Road, an affidavit of probable cause says. An East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputy pulled Harding over after he drove on the fog line for more than 200 feet, the affidavit says.
When Harding got out of his vehicle, he was swaying side to side, his eyes were bloodshot and he had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, the affidavit says. He refused to perform any field sobriety tests and he refused to provide a breath test, the affidavit says.
Harding was arrested on second-offense DWI, the affidavit says.
That charge was reduced to first-offense and prosecution was dismissed after Harding successfully completed a pretrial intervention program, court records show.
Details of the March 2, 2003, DWI arrest were not available.