ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. – An Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office employee is facing charges after he drove his vehicle off a boat launch and the passenger inside his car drowned, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Around 2:20 a.m. Sunday, Brandon Devezin called 911 after he swam to shore. He had driven his vehicle into Bayou Lacombe at the Main Street boat launch, according to the sheriff’s office.
According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, “Devezin was unable to give his location, however dispatchers quickly used the coordinates from his cell phone to pinpoint his location to the Main St. boat launch.”
A dive team was called in after learning that a passenger was still inside the vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office.
Around 3 a.m., the dive team found the passenger, identified as Ryan Toussaint, 37, of Mandeville, inside the vehicle, about 130 feet from the boat launch.
Devezin admitted to deputies that he had been drinking at a local bar before driving the vehicle into the water. Deputies suspect that Devezin was impaired and his blood was drawn at the hospital for analysis, according to the sheriff’s office.
Devezin was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail for vehicular homicide and an open container violation, according to the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Jack Strain confirmed Devezin is employed at the Orleans Parish Sheriff Office. He is still in the jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.
A statement from Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman said Devezin, a recruit, was suspended from duty on Sunday. He had been employed by the sheriff's office since 2010, Gusman's spokesman said.
The victim, Toussaint, died of asphyxia due to drowning, according to the St. Tammany Parish coroner's office. Toxicology results are pending, officials said.