Gosserand ordered to pay $2 million in New Roads drunk driving fatality

Victoria Gosserand, the Ventress woman at the center of a controversy over the conditions of her incarceration for drunk driving, has been ordered to pay more than $2 million in damages to the man seriously injured and to the family of the young mother killed in the accident.

The civil judgment against Gosserand, 27, was handed down less than year after her release from the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail after having served one-third of her three-year sentence on vehicular homicide.

On the night of Dec. 23, 2009, Gosserand was driving drunk when she slammed into Kyle Riviere’s 1999 Toyota Camry as he was turning left at a green light onto False River Drive in New Roads.

The collision threw Terri Marie Parker, 23, from the Camry onto the shoulder of the road, where police found her lying motionless, her neck apparently broken.

Gosserand’s blood-alcohol content was 0.30 percent, nearly four times the 0.08 percent standard that in Louisiana is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving.

In a May 8 judgment filed in 18th Judicial District Court, Gosserand was ordered to pay Carro C. Cooks $1.5 million in general damages for causing the accident that killed Parker, of New Roads. Parker was the mother of Cooks’ 7-year-old son.

Gosserand was also ordered to pay $550,000 to Riviere, the 28-year-old New Roads man severely injured in the crash.

Attorneys for both plaintiffs said the judgment provides a sense of closure in a case that has emotionally rocked the families of both victims.

Attorneys now hope Gosserand will be able to pay the settlements to their clients.

“We just remain hopeful we’ll be able to collect it,” Thomas Hessburg, Riviere’s attorney, said Friday. “They have 60 days to file an appeal. To my knowledge, no appeals have been filed yet. Once that time period is over, we’ll start our efforts to collect.”

Cooks’ attorney, Tom Nelson, shared Hessburg’s sentiments.

“We already have a 7-year-old child out there that now has to go through life without a mother,” he said.

In 2012, Parker’s relatives questioned why Gosserand was sentenced to serve time in the West Baton Rouge Detention Center rather than in Pointe Coupee Parish, asserting she was receiving special treatment. Pointe Coupee officials have said their jail is incapable of housing female prisoners.

Last year, Parker’s family staged several protests in Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes after West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes acknowledged Gosserand was made a trustee, enabling her to perform clerical work eight hours a day at a Sheriff’s Office outside the prison.

Gosserand is eight months into her two years of supervised probation with the state Department of Corrections.

As part of her probation, she has to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle she drives during her probationary period.

Gosserand was also required to make public presentations through Mothers Against Drunk Driving to area high schools and elementary schools about the dangers of drinking and driving.