GRETNA, La. – The suspect in a fatal crash on the Causeway pleaded not guilty Friday morning to charges including vehicular homicide and vehicular negligent injuring, beginning a process that the victim’s relatives said they hope will see “justice served.”
Olivia Matte is accused in the death of James Blackmond and injuring his brother-in-law as they drove to work in Port Fourchon before dawn March 21. She had a blood alcohol content of 0.21 after the crash, well above the legal limit of 0.08.
Je'Vaughn Osgood, Blackmond’s nephew, told reporters after the brief hearing that he and his family still hurt months later. But, he said, there is “no ill will or any kind of revenge-type spirit here.”
“We ultimately just want justice to be served. We’re confident we’ll get that,” Osgood said. “This was a young man. He had his whole life ahead of him. … It’s tough.”
In addition to the vehicular homicide and injuring charges, Matte was also charged with operating a vehicle while under suspension and failure to maintain control of a vehicle, according to Jefferson Parish court records.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office charged Matte a short time before she appeared for the previously-scheduled status hearing.
Matte and her attorney declined to comment after the hearing. A judge ordered her back to court in June.
She appeared to try to keep a stiff upper lip and not cry inside the courtroom.
Osgood, however, said he’s seen little emotion from Matte. “I haven’t seen any sense or kind of remorse or guilt or empathy.”
Matte has been free on a $126,000 bond since the crash. She was ordered to submit to drug testing and to wear an alcohol monitor.
The arrest after the fatal Causeway accident was Matte’s third DWI arrest in less than a year.
She faced a bond revocation in St. Tammany Parish after the Causeway fatality, but a judge for the 22nd Judicial District Court in Covington denied that request, instead imposing a curfew on Matte that requires her to be at her parents’ home between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
That bond stemmed from a Dec. 7, 2016, DWI arrest on the north shore.
Osgood said his family continues to pray for Matte and her family.
“We feel for their family. We pray for them, because we know it has to be hard,” he said. “But at the same time you have to be accountable for your actions.”