LAFAYETTE — A Youngsville man facing a vehicular homicide charge who vanished from court last month has posted a YouTube video claiming he’s being railroaded by Lafayette Parish prosecutors.
In the video, posted Sunday on the Internet, Wade Lohse, 43, claims he wasn’t drunk last summer when he crashed his Jeep Cherokee into the vehicle driven by Cacie Barras McGrew, a collision that killed the 29-year-old woman on Youngsville Highway. He complained that police and prosecutors are “trying to make me look like a bad guy.”
Wearing a gray T-shirt, hair uncombed and face unshaven and standing amid a grove of trees, Lohse doesn’t say where he is when he shot the 11-minute, 18-second video. He also does not say whether he had accomplices who helped him escape or if he has someone helping him elude police.
Lohse was last seen by his attorney, Thomas Alonzo, and 15th Court District prosecutor J.N. Prather on the morning of March 25 as they were trying to work out a plea agreement on three charges Lohse was facing. They included a felon in possession of a weapon that was to go to trial that morning, the vehicular homicide charge and a burglary charge.
Lohse, who was out on bond at the time of his disappearance, told his attorney and others at the courthouse that he had to deposit coins in the meter where he’d parked. After he walked out the door, he was not seen again.
“The problem is that you people (police and prosecutors) are going to make me look like a bad guy,” Lohse says in nonstop, run-on sentences in the YouTube spot, “because you want them (the public) to be on your side when really the problem is that you’re the bad people because you’re going after people for no reason.
“You’re wasting your resources on stuff that is inconsequential at this point because you just want to put me in prison … ” he says.
Efforts to reach members of McGrew’s family and friends Monday afternoon were unsuccessful, but social media sites like the Facebook “Justice for Cacie Barras McGrew” page were active with indignant posts after the YouTube video was posted online.
“I am so sick to my stomach,” Alisha Funk said on the Facebook page.
“No matter what kind of excuses (Lohse) makes, hiding in the woods will not help his cause nor will his video take away Justice for Cacie Barras McGrew. … An innocent man never has to hide,” Funk wrote, adding she hoped McGrew’s family, “God willing … won’t have to watch it ever!”
Minutes into the video, Lohse claims he wasn’t drunk when he crashed into McGrew and alleges that accident investigators didn’t accurately describe the crash.
He also claims prosecutors have not allowed him to see the victim’s cellphone records that could show she was texting or talking on the phone when the vehicles collided.
Prather, the assistant district attorney prosecuting both the vehicular homicide and weapons charges against Lohse, said he isn’t buying the escapee’s story.
Prather also said the government has turned over to Lohse and his attorney all the evidence they requested.
“Anything they’ve asked for we’ve gotten to them,” Prather said Monday. “If he wants his due process, we can sure give it to him.”
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office on Friday asked the U.S. Marshals Service to place Lohse on the service’s top 15 most wanted fugitives list. Judice said authorities already have designated Lohse the No. 1 fugitive for Lafayette Parish.
Sheriff’s Office Capt. Kip Judice on Monday said Lohse has not yet been placed on the list and that parish detectives continue a multi-state search.
Judice said sheriff’s officials also are awaiting word on Lohse’s appearance on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.”
“We’re investigating some leads, but none yet with any significance,” Judice said.
In the video, Lohse claims he had a constitutional right to have a gun when he was arrested in 2010.
According to federal court records, Lohse, who also has gone by the name of John Kline, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New Orleans to illegal possession of firearms. Former federal Judge G.T. Porteous Jr. on Feb. 11, 1998, sentenced Lohse to 10 years in prison and three years of supervision when he released. Lohse was released Nov. 9, 2006, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Prather said Lohse was charged in 2010 with a felony weapons violation because it is illegal for those who have been convicted of felonies to own or possess firearms.