NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New information was released Tuesday (March 20) about the blood alcohol results of a man accused of plowing his car into a group of bicyclists after the Endymion parade. An LSU Health toxicologist estimates that blood alcohol test was done hours after the crash.
Tashonty Toney is accused of killing two people and injuring several others in a crash on Esplanade Avenue earlier this month after Endymion. The NOPD says State Police Crime Lab testing showed Toney’s blood alcohol content or BAC was .14, but that BAC was taken after the crash. And police believe at the time of the wreck it was closer to .215 - nearly three times the legal limit.
LSU Health toxicologist Avery Ragan estimates that BAC test was taken five hours after the crash.
“So, he probably would have been someplace in the range of .195 to, gosh, .25 during that period,” said Ragan, who is with LSU Health Forensic & Clinical Toxicology.
We asked New Orleans Police how soon after the crash Toney’s BAC was done. While they didn’t answer that question, the NOPD did tell us Toney was taken to their DWI facility following the crash and refused a breathalyzer test. At that time, the NOPD says investigators worked to secure a warrant to have his blood drawn. Once a judge signed the warrant, the NOPD says officers transported Toney to a local hospital for the procedure. Again, it’s unclear at this time how long that took.
MADD Louisiana says no matter what BAC level you’re looking at, drunk is drunk.
“He’s a .14 allegedly. He was intoxicated. If he’s found guilty, he’s killed two people, and I think justice should be served and he is sentenced accordingly,” said MADD Louisiana’s Program Director Valerie Cox.
We asked the toxicologist about the differences in impairment between the State Police BAC result and what the NOPD estimates Toney’s blood alcohol level was at the time of the crash.
“Every time you increase, you become more and more impaired. In other words, your motor skills get worse, your judgement gets worse. Say, for a woman, you start getting impaired around .03. Okay, remember the state law is .08, and you are considered impaired at that point,” Ragan said.
We reached out to Toney’s attorney about his BAC results, but he told us he has not yet seen the report and did not want to comment until he’s reviewed it. Toney faces a number of charges, including vehicular homicide and hit and run. He’s currently in jail on a more than $500,000 bond.
FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says there will likely be a fight over what exactly Toney’s blood alcohol content was at the time of the crash, because if convicted, that would determine his sentence and how much time he would have to serve. Toney was scheduled to be in court Thursday afternoon for a bond reduction hearing, but that has been postponed until the following Thursday, March 28.