NEW ORLEANS — A Metairie man pleaded guilty as charged with vehicular homicide after a September incident in which he hit and killed an New Orleans Police Department dispatcher on Interstate-610.
Andrew Merchant was sentenced to 7½ years in prison. There was no plea deal.
On Sept. 7, Paulette Brown was on her way to work as an NOPD dispatcher when police said Merchant hit the 51-year-old head-on with his jeep.
According to police, he was driving the wrong way on I-610 before the crash and allegedly had a blood-alcohol content three times the legal driving limit. Court documents described the 28-year-old as red-eyed and slurring on the scene.
In November, when Merchant was charged, Brown's family said waiting on the criminal justice system wasn’t easy.
"Pretty much the whole family has been calling back and forth, to find out what's going on, what happens next. We just don't know what to do," said Lisa Walker, Brown’s sister.