Ventress woman released after serving a third of her prison term

The Ventress woman convicted of causing a fatal traffic accident that killed a 23-year-old New Roads woman in December 2009 and sentenced to three years in prison is out on probation after serving one-third of her term in the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail, authorities confirmed Friday.

Victoria Gosserand, 27, was released from jail sometime Thursday, Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres said Friday.

“That was her release date, per the judge’s order,” Torres said.

District Judge Alvin Batiste sentenced Gosserand on June 26, 2012, to serve five years in the West Baton Rouge Detention Center for vehicular homicide in the death of Terri Parker, 23.

Gosserand was driving drunk on the night of Dec. 23, 2009, when she ran a red light at an intersection in New Roads and crashed into a car in which Parker was riding, fatally injuring Parker.

Authorities previously reported Gosserand’s blood-alcohol content was 0.30 percent, nearly four times higher than a reading of 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content, which is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving in Louisiana.

Gosserand’s prison sentence ran concurrently with her three-year sentence for first-degree negligent vehicular injuring in the same case, according to court records.

Court records state that two years were shaved off Gosserand’s vehicular homicide sentence as part of a plea deal for the time she served in an inpatient treatment center.

Gosserand also was entitled to having her three-year sentence further reduced for good behavior as stipulated by Louisiana Revised Statute 15:571.3, according to court records.

The state’s good behavior law says that first-time offenders sentenced to prison without hard labor can have their sentences reduced at a rate of 30 days for every 30 days they serve in prison.

The state law also gives the sheriff of the parish in which the inmate’s conviction was handed down the sole authority to determine when good time has been earned.

“We have followed the sentence process to the letter,” Torres said Friday. “She wasn’t released early.”

Last year, relatives of Parker questioned why Gosserand was sentenced by the court to serve time in the West Baton Rouge Detention Center rather than in Pointe Coupee Parish, asserting Gosserand was receiving special treatment because of the switch.

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

Debra Cushionberry, Parker’s mother, did not return calls Friday seeking comment about Gosserand’s release.

Torres said Gosserand was sent to the West Baton Rouge Jail because he was incapable of housing female prisoners at his facility in Pointe Coupee Parish.

According to court records, Gosserand will now have to serve two years of supervised probation with the state Department of Corrections and must install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle that she drives during her probationary period.

Gosserand is 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.