Driver on cell phone arrested for negligent homicide in death of - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Driver on cell phone arrested for negligent homicide in death of motorcyclist on Barataria

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Along a very busy stretch of Barataria, flowers and a picture of Brent Badeaux serve as a reminder to passing motorists about what unfolded there.

Badeaux’s widow, Jan, will never forget the phone call she received on the afternoon of Jan. 31.

“It was his nephew and he said that he was dead. Of course, I left work. I got there, and it was just a horrific scene,” Jan Badeaux said.

According to the arrest report, 28-year-old Jessica Martin was distracted by talking on her cell phone and failed to yield to oncoming traffic when she moved across the northbound lanes of Barataria. Badeaux was on his motorcycle traveling in the left lane when he struck Martin’s car.

Badeaux died before help could arrive.

“We couldn’t even have an open coffin because we couldn’t view him. This is all we have left is pictures,” Christy Ragas said.

Pictures used at the funeral show the close-knit family.

“He was our world, ya know?” Jan Badeaux said.

On the day of the crash, they said Badeaux had gone to pick up his motorcycle and was taking it to get cleaned. His 8-year-old son, Bryson, and his nephew, Devon, were following behind Badeaux in a car and witnessed the whole thing.

Jan said little Bryson is opening up more and more everyday about what he witnessed. He holds on tight to a special necklace.

“This is a stainless steel silver bullet with my dad’s ashes in it. It has a blue diamond on it. On the back, it says ‘dad’ and I have a cross on this side,” Bryson said.

Martin was arrested for negligent homicide and disregarding a yield sign. Just as the report states that Martin was distracted while talking on her cell phone, FOX 8 found several drivers talking on their cell phones at the same intersection. While it isn’t against the law, it is considered a distraction according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

The NHTSA said in 2014, more than 3,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

“Get off your cell phones. Pay attention to the road because this could one day be one of your family members that gets killed or seriously hurt,” Ragas said.

Martin was released from jail on a $75,000 bond. 

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