Mistrial declared in hit-and-run death of bicyclist

Darby Griffin.
Darby Griffin.

A judge declared a mistrial late Thursday after a jury could not agree on a verdict in a fatal 2012 hit-and-run on Gardere Lane in Baton Rouge that claimed the life of a 54-year-old bicyclist.

East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Robert Savage said Darby Griffin, 50, of Baton Rouge, will be retried on a charge of hit-and-run driving involving serious bodily injury or death. A trial date will be selected at a July 8 status hearing before state District Judge Don Johnson.

Barbara Jacobs was not wearing a helmet or reflective gear at 11 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2012, when State Police said Griffin’s southbound 1999 Mazda struck her rear tire, throwing Jacobs from her bike and into the northbound lane where a 2006 Lexus sport utility vehicle then hit her.

Savage argued Thursday that Griffin is guilty as charged because he left the scene and failed to render reasonable aid to Jacobs.

The prosecutor told the six-person jury that Griffin was driving without a license, insurance or a license plate.

Savage also said Griffin had a blood-alcohol content of 0.088 percent more than five hours after the crash.

A blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving in Louisiana for those 21 and older.

Griffin, who faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted as charged, testified Thursday he did not consume alcohol that day. He said it was Jacobs who ran into his car.

Griffin also testified he got out of his car twice at the scene but finally left after being threatened by several persons at the scene. He said he feared for his life.

“You were scared because you were drunk,” Savage said to Griffin.

“I was not drunk that night,” Griffin replied. “That was never my intention to run from no one. I’m not hiding anything. I have nothing to hide.”

Griffin said he drove to his Gardere-area home, told his wife what had happened, then walked to a friend’s home nearby and was driven to an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office substation.

The jury deliberated for 41/2 hours.