Dead man’s father outraged by charge
A St. Helena Parish grand jury on Friday indicted Livingston Parish School Board President Malcolm Sibley on a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge in a June fatal crash, a decision that outraged the victim’s family.
Sibley, 66, was driving his GMC pickup north on La. 43 near Greensburg around 5 a.m. June 15 when he allegedly struck another truck driven by William Cody Iasigi, 21, of Liberty, Miss. Sibley did not stop after the accident.
State Police arrested Sibley on a felony hit-and-run count, but Sherman Mack, Sibley’s attorney, said Friday that the grand jury charged Sibley with misdemeanor hit-and-run and did not find him at fault in the crash.
Anyone convicted of misdemeanor hit-and-run driving in Louisiana faces a maximum six-month jail sentence and $500 fine, according to state law.
A felony hit-and-run charge would have brought a maximum 10-year prison sentence with a fine of up to $5,000.
Sibley’s arraignment is set for Nov. 8 in St. Helena.
Mack said Sibley, who has remained board president since his arrest, plans to pay his fines for the incident and move forward.
“Hopefully they can start to mend and bring some closure to this tragedy,” Mack said.
Bill Iasigi, the victim’s father, said the misdemeanor indictment is a “terrible injustice” for his family.
“He (Sibley) was given a slap on the hand,” Iasigi said. “How do you kill someone and have that be a misdemeanor?”
Iasigi said he and his family will continue to follow Sibley’s case in court and push for the stiffest sentence.
“There’s a lot of variables in the case, but I don’t see how they came up with that conclusion,” he said.
State Police have said Sibley was not at fault in the crash because Iasigi’s truck was stopped in the roadway.
Evidence from the scene and witness statements indicated that Iasigi’s truck was possibly on or across the roadway’s double yellow line, the Attorney General’s Office said.
Mack said the grand jury convened Thursday to hear the facts of the case. He said Sibley voluntarily participated in the hearing.
Mack said the grand jury was told that Sibley was driving on La. 43 when he saw another vehicle with bright headlights on the road.
Sibley attempted to swerve and thought somebody had thrown something at his vehicle after hearing what resembled a metal-on-metal sound, Mack said.
Sibley looked behind him and saw no lights, so he continued driving, Mack said.
Mack said Sibley heard about Iasigi’s death hours later and contacted him about what to do.
Mack has said Sibley was distraught over the accident and regrets it.
The State Police report into the incident says Sibley was on his way to see his purported girlfriend, Charlotte Frazier.
Sibley has been married to the former Johnice Diane Duffy since 1967.
Mack once again said Friday that Sibley was driving around for work related to his timber company.
He said Frazier’s identity has no relevance to the case whatsoever.
“We’re not going to comment on innuendo or miscellaneous rumors,” he said.
Frazier, of Kentwood, and her daughter, Christy Miller, refused to speak to investigators about the incident, according to the report.
Sibley admitted to being the hit-and-run driver after troopers approached him at his house a day later. He was booked into the St. Helena Parish Jail and troopers later seized his truck.
Iasigi and his rear-seat passenger, Thomas Bailey, were arguing when Iasigi pulled over the white 2008 Chevrolet Silverado pickup he was driving, according to the State Police report.
Bailey got out and began walking south on the road, but Iasigi made a U-turn and stopped in the southbound lane.
Iasigi exited the vehicle and stood next to it, leaving the driver’s door open. That’s when Sibley’s northbound truck reportedly hit him, the report says.
Bailey told troopers he heard a loud noise after exiting the truck.
The other passenger, Jarrett Wilson, said he heard Iasigi moan and then saw his body on the ground. Wilson put Iasigi into the truck and drove him to the nearby St. Helena Parish Hospital.
Iasigi’s blood-alcohol content level was 0.22 percent, or nearly three times the state’s legal limit of 0.08 for driving, at the time of the crash, according to a State Police blood analysis.
Sibley turned himself in more than 24 hours after the accident and was not given an alcohol test.
Bill Iasigi said his son and two friends were driving home after going to a strip club in St. Helena Parish.
“They were doing what normal 20-, 22-, 23-year-olds do,” Iasigi said.
Bill Iasigi said his son, who went by his middle name Cody, was a hard worker who routinely helped him with construction projects around the house.
He said some of that work included helping build a pool at the house. The son helped cut all of the bricks for the pool.
Iasigi said his son was a loving person.
“He had a big heart,” he said. “He would give you the last dime in his pocket.”
Bill Iasigi said he avoided interviews about his son after his death because of the grieving his family was going through.
But Iasigi said Friday that he’s ready to talk after Sibley’s indictment, which he said is a slap in his son’s face.
“I will have my day in court,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”
District Attorney Scott Perrilloux recused his office from the case, saying one of Sibley’s daughters used to work for him. The case was turned over to the Attorney General’s Office,
Sibley, a Democrat from Walker, won his first election to the School Board in 1994. He lost his seat in 2006 but regained it in 2010.
He represents Doyle High, Doyle Elementary, Frost School, North Corbin Elementary, North Corbin Junior High and half of Holden.
Sibley skipped the first Livingston Parish School Board meeting after his arrest but has attended every meeting since then, including Thursday night’s meeting.
Board member Milton Hughes said Sibley expected to be charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony.
“He was pretty sure that’s what was going to happen two or three weeks ago,” Hughes said.
Hughes said State Police had told Sibley that he wasn’t at fault in the crash and likely would be charged with a misdemeanor.
Hughes said the incident hasn’t had any noticeable effect on Sibley’s work with the School Board.
Board member Keith Martin echoed Hughes’ sentiments.
“I haven’t seen any effect,” Martin said.
Martin declined further comment about the accident.
“At this time, you just let the court do its thing,” he said.
Other board members could not be reached for comment Friday.