January 18th there was a crash in Moss Bluff near the corner of Highways 171 and 378 and the suspect arrested, Henry Allen Merrill, was booked for 4th offense DWI.
At this point, Merrill is still in the Calcasieu Jail. But Lillian Gaskins of Beauregard Parish is upset because his bond is set at just under $11,000 for DWI 4th, two charges related to driving under suspension and careless operation.
Gaskins says Merrill rear ended the car carrying her two daughters, son in law and four grand babies. She's horrified at the thought that they could have been killed or injured-- though luckily there were no serious injuries.
But Lillian can't stand the thought of what might have happened. "This drunk driver in a moment could have taken away four of my grand babies, and two of my daughters and my son in law and I wouldn't been reduced to just my son and that's kind of hurtful to think about what could have happened and how he's been able to slip through the cracks so many times and how his bond can be set so small. I'm just glad that I'm looking at my babies today and I'm not looking at seven pieces of ground."
State Police say when Merrill caused the January 18th crash, his blood alcohol was .224 That's almost three times the legal limit.
Lillian's daughter Brandy Hagar was driving when the crash occurred. She too is upset Merrill's bond for DWI 4th, driving under suspension and careless operation is just $10,950. "I'm not happy that he was out, allowed to drive. I mean he didn't have a license to begin with and here we were just trying to make it home and he slammed into the back of us and he couldn't get out of the truck because he was drunk. He was too intoxicated to stand up, " said Hagan.
Lillian thinks state legislators should pass a law preventing low bonds for those who repeatedly drive drunk "If he files his income tax any time soon, who's to say he's not going to get out; with the income tax money. As of today, I've checked every day and he hasn't made bond yet. But that's not to say he won't tomorrow and that he won't drive again. He thought nothing of driving this time and slamming into a family of seven," said Gaskins.
At last word Merrill remained in jail. Gaskins says she plans to get with the appropriate judge and or the DA's office to see if his bond can be set higher.