Police: Mother of teen killed in rollover crash could face criminal charges

Updated: Jun. 17, 2019 at 9:20 PM CDT
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HAMMOND, La. (WVUE) - More serious charges may be pending in a rollover crash in Hammond that left a 15-year-old boy dead and two other children injured after they were injected from the car Sunday night (June 17).

Louisiana State Police described the scene as horrible, not only because of the number of children involved, but also because of how preventable the accident was.

According to a police, 38-year-old Viola Oliver was driving on Interstate 55 around 9:30 p.m. when she ran off the road, flipping the car four to five times before it came to rest upside down on the service road. Three children were in the car -- Oliver’s 15-year-old son, Solomon Short, her 3-year-old daughter and her 7-year-old niece, police said.

All three children were thrown from the car. Oliver, her daughter and niece were brought to the hospital in critical condition. Solomon did not survive.

Family in the Hammond area said they’re all in mourning Monday, and most of the family remained by the sides of the survivors -- all of whom were reported to still be in critical condition.

Benjamin Cotton is related to the family through marriage and said there’s nothing more to say, other than how tragic the situation is.

“She’s in the hospital now, in critical condition,” Cotton said, referring to Oliver. “She’s a good person.”

As of Monday, state police cited Oliver for careless operation and two counts of no child restraint. State trooper Dustin Dwight said none of the children were wearing seat belts and the 3-year-old was not in a car seat.

“These are the types of crashed that are preventable,” Dwight said. “Something could have been done to prevent anything from happening last night.”

Investigators believe Oliver may have been impaired at the time of the crash, but a toxicology report is not yet complete. Still, additional criminal charges could be pending, Dwight said.

“It’s extremely frustrating for troopers when we see these consequences to these crashes, especially when it’s a juvenile who’s hurt or seriously injured or killed,” he said. “There’s nothing more frustrating that we can respond to.”

Dwight said anyone with children who still require a car seat can get assistance with properly installing them by contacting State Police.

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