By Ryan Broussard
Advocate staff writer
October 21, 2012
The phone call LaTonya Jacobs of Atlanta received early Monday, Oct. 1, on the way to drop her children off at the babysitter was one she will never forget.
The call, from one of her friends, was cryptic and vague, which spooked Jacobs enough to call her 17-year-old son, Lamar. He told her that her mother, his grandmother who he had stayed with in Baton Rouge over the summer, had been killed in a hit-and-run by a drunk driver
“That particular day, it was like my world ended,” Jacobs, 36, said Saturday.
Barbara Jacobs, 54, was riding her bicycle home late Sept. 30, south on Gardere Lane when a 1999 Mazda struck her rear wheel, throwing her off the bicycle and into the north lane, Louisiana State Trooper First Class Stephen Hammons said. The driver of the Mazda drove away.
Not long after the Mazda hit Jacobs, a 2006 Lexus sport-utility vehicle traveling north on Gardere hit Jacobs, Hammons said. The driver of the Lexus, Rebecca Guidry, 22, of Lafayette, stopped and called the authorities, Hammons said.
Authorities found Darby Griffin, 49, of Baton Rouge, and booked him in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of first-offense DWI, hit and run, obstruction of justice, driving under suspension and no seat belt. Hammons said the case is still under investigation.
Barbars Jacobs’ funeral was Oct. 8. On Saturday, Jacobs, her friends and immediate family traveled from Georgia to Louisiana to celebrate her only sister’s engagement Saturday afternoon and birthday on Sunday.
Jacobs also wanted to see the memorial set up by some of her mother’s friends at the corner of Gardere Lane and Pascagoula Drive, where her mother died. Stuffed sea creatures at the bottom of the memorial represented her mother’s love of animals and the picture at the top of the cross, next to the wreath, was a homage to her mother’s love of pictures, especially ones of family in her apartment.
Jacobs said her family lived in New Orleans’ 9th Ward and evacuated to Baton Rouge for Hurricane Katrina. Her mother was the only one still in Baton Rouge, she said.
Jacobs found a job in Georgia and had not seen her mother in about a year.
“Life goes on for them (the suspects) but for us, my kids don’t have a grandmother,” Jacobs said.
“My sister’s children, they don’t have a grandmother, my mom’s siblings, they don’t have a sister anymore and my grandmother is still living, her daughter is dead,” Jacobs said.
The day before Barbara Jacobs’ death marked 28 years since her brother, Gregory Jacobs, died after he was run over by a garbage truck at work, and Lamar’s father was killed by a drunk driver when he was 2, her daughter said.
Jacobs said her faith has helped cope with her through her mother’s death.
“That’s what is keeping me grounded because I think I would have lost my mind other than that,” she said.
Jacobs also said she wants to find Marcus Moore to thank him for reportedly waving off traffic and watching over her mother’s body until authorities arrived.
Barbara Jacobs’ death was the third this year in which a bicyclist was killed.