East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies have arrested a pizza delivery man who became distracted by his cellphone GPS and allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian a week ago, court records show.
Darius Shaw, 18, was booked into Parish Prison on Thursday on counts of hit-and-run driving and negligent homicide in the Aug. 16 death of 57-year-old Pamela Walton. Shaw has since posted $10,000 bond and been released from custody, booking officials said.
The accident happened at 8:20 p.m. in the 16300 block of Tiger Bend Road. A witness told deputies Walton was standing a couple of feet from the roadway when she was struck by a 2004 Ford F-150.
Shaw initially left the scene to continue making deliveries, but later returned and told investigators that his attention “was diverted to his GPS on his cellphone” at the time of the accident, according to an affidavit of probable cause. He struck “what he believed to be a mailbox or debris,” the affidavit says, but was apparently unaware he had struck the woman.
“The accused further stated that he did not want his manager to become upset with him so he continued to make his deliveries and stated that he had intended to return to contact the owner of the mailbox,” the affidavit says.
Two witnesses told investigators they saw the pickup strike the woman and then continue east on Tiger Bend Road. The vehicle had moderate damage to its front passenger side bumper, headlight and fender, the affidavit says. The accident had forced authorities to shut down one lane of Tiger Bend Road near Antioch Road.
Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said Shaw was not immediately taken into custody because investigators still had to interview witnesses and await blood test results. The affidavit says impairment was not suspected.
Baton Rouge attorney Gordon J. McKernan said Walton’s children were pleased that Shaw was arrested. “Obviously, they’ve had a loss from this tragedy,” he said, “and it’s been devastating to this family.”
McKernan said the family will be pursuing civil damages in Walton’s death.
Shaw could face up to five years in prison if convicted of negligent homicide. He pleaded guilty last month to failure to register his vehicle and disregarding traffic signals, court records show.