SHREVEPORT, La. — A Bossier City attorney admitted Thursday that he drove a sport utility vehicle belonging to the Bossier-Webster district attorney’s office into a bayou then left the scene of the accident without reporting it.
Lyn Lawrence — who is not an employee of the district attorney’s office but is a friend and political ally of District Attorney Schuyler Marvin — pleaded guilty in Caddo District Court to failure to report an accident. He was fined $100 plus court costs.
Caddo District Attorney James Stewart, whose office prosecuted the case after Marvin recused his office, said Lawrence, 53, managed to get out of the SUV after it ran into Red Chute Bayou last summer. He eventually got a ride to his nearby camp and deputies traced the SUV to him after the vehicle was found in the bayou.
Marvin has repeatedly refused to answer questions about why Lawrence was driving a taxpayer-owned vehicle.
The wreck happened on the night of Aug. 21 when Lawrence, who was driving a Toyota Sequoia Limited owned by the D.A.’s office ran, off state Highway 527 in south Bossier Parish and into Red Chute Bayou. Sheriff’s deputies called to the scene shortly before midnight found no one in the vehicle. Beer cans were in the water, deputies reported.
Deputies traced the ownership of the SUV to the district attorney’s office, called Marvin and were told Lawrence was the likely driver, Stewart said. Lawrence’s briefcase was also in the vehicle, deputies said.
Two deputies went to a house in nearby Elm Grove where Lawrence was living. The Sheriff’s Office accident report said Lawrence “did not want to talk about the accident” but told them it happened about 7 p.m. and he climbed out of the wrecked vehicle through a back window. Lawrence would not say how the vehicle wound up in a bayou nor why he left the scene of the accident, deputies said in the report.
The report said Lawrence told them he laid on the edge of the bayou for a “couple of hours” until he was able to get the attention of a family, who took him home.
Deputies said they saw no indication of intoxication and did not test Lawrence to see if he was under the influence of alcohol, the report said.
Lawrence’s law practice includes criminal defense work in Bossier Parish.
Under state ethics guidelines, vehicles belonging to government agencies are supposed to be used only for official business and by employees of agencies. State law prohibits the loaning of property of political subdivisions to individuals.
Marvin’s office so far has refused to provide specifics on whether his office would seek restitution for damage to its vehicle. First Assistant District Attorney Andrew Jacobs has previously said the case “is either/both in litigation and/or anticipated litigation,” but neither he nor Marvin immediately responded Thursday for an update.
Stewart said his office prosecuted the traffic ticket against Lawrence but would not seek restitution for the Bossier D.A.’s office.
“That’s a civil matter,” Stewart said.