Man involved in chase with deputies runs over boy, 4

A Chevrolet Tahoe careened through a Labadieville-area neighborhood during a chase with an Assumption Parish sheriff’s deputy, hit a 4-year-old boy riding his bicycle early Sunday evening and briefly dragged the child down the street.

The boy, Jaden Washington, was airlifted to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, and has since been released with only bumps and bruises, family friend Jasmine Bell said.

Moments before the collision, Bell said, she had been telling Jaden to turn his bike around because he was getting too close to the end of his block near Delaune Street and Cancienne Road.

It was then, Bell said, when the Tahoe came swerving around the corner at high speed and into Jaden, who was on his bike alongside Delaune.

Bell, 23 and a friend of the Washington family, said Jaden’s leg became caught in the bike after he was hit, and he was dragged a few feet until he flipped over the bike into the nearby grass.

Bell said she ran over and picked him up.

“He was more scared than anything. He just kept screaming my name,” Bell said.

Attempts to reach Jaden’s mother were unsuccessful Monday.

Bell said she lives down Delaune Street from where Jaden lives with his mother.

Delaune is a short dead-end road off La. 1 and down Bayou Lafourche, Bell said, with mostly extended relations and little traffic. The neighborhood has a Napoleonville address but sits between that town and Labadieville to the south.

The chase began shortly before 5:30 p.m. when a sheriff’s patrol sergeant driving north on La. 1 spotted a Tahoe, driven by Larry Wiggins Jr., 28, 2969 La. 1, Napoleonville, speeding south on La. 1, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.

The deputy made a U-turn and gave chase, trying to catch Wiggins’ Tahoe, the release says.

Wiggins sped up, though he soon slowed down and turned right onto Cancienne Road, the news release says.

He then turned left onto Delaune Street, still speeding and struck the boy. Deputies and State Police did not identify the child, under their policies.

Trooper Evan Harrell, spokesman for State Police Troop C, said when the boy was hit, he was riding his bike 48 feet from Cancienne and Delaune and down the block from his home.

The Tahoe stopped soon after Jaden was hit, and Wiggins and the three other people in the Tahoe ran away.

Deputies were able to catch three of them, including Wiggins, within a half-hour.

Sheriff Mike Waguespack defended the patrol sergeant’s actions Monday, saying a short amount of time passed from when the deputy made the U-turn on La. 1 to when Wiggins struck the boy.

“At some point, you’ve got to make a decision to call (a chase) off, but this happened so quick,” Waguespack said. “It happened so fast. He (Wiggins) didn’t go very far before turning down that road.”

Waguespack said when Wiggins turned left onto Delaune, he was just 100 yards away from his initial turn from La. 1 onto Cancienne.

“The officer had every right to pursue,” Waguespack added.

He said two of the three men who were passengers in Wiggins’ SUV were apprehended after the chase but were not arrested. They have cooperated with investigators.

They were sitting in the back seat and told deputies they told Wiggins to pull over, Waguespack said.

Deputies did not catch the fourth man who was a passenger. He is wanted on outstanding warrants, Waguespack said.

State Police troopers arrested Wiggins on Sunday on counts of felony hit-and-run, being an unlicensed driver, second-offense DWI and first-degree vehicular negligent injury.

Waguespack said he had asked State Police to investigate the crash because a deputy was involved in the chase.

Assumption sheriff’s deputies separately arrested Wiggins in the initial chase and booked him on counts of aggravated flight from an officer, speeding 72 mph in a 50-mph zone and resisting an officer.

Bail had not been set for Wiggins as of midmorning Monday and he remained in Assumption Parish Detention Center in Napoleonville, Waguespack said.