Eric Heisig / Houma Courier Staff Writer
A Houma teen died early Sunday morning after her boyfriend, who State Police believe was driving drunk, flipped his pickup into a water-filled ditch, authorities said.
At about 2:30 a.m., Stephen Murphy, 18, of Houma, failed to make a left curve on the 2000 block of Savanne Road while heading west, troopers said. Murphy then smashed into a brick mailbox, causing the Ford Ranger to flip into the water, police said.
His girlfriend, Amanda Doyle, 18, of Houma, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Terrebonne Coroner's Office. Murphy was not hurt, aside from a few scratches, authorities said, and he was later arrested.
Doyle and Murphy were wearing their seat belts, but alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash. A breath test showed that Murphy had more than two times the legal limit of alcohol in his system, police said. Blood was drawn, as required by state law in all fatal crashes.
Murphy is charged with vehicular homicide, possession of alcohol by a person under 21 and reckless operation. If convicted, he faces more than 30 years in prison.
He was released from the Terrebonne Parish jail Sunday afternoon after posting a $20,000 bond set by Judge Johnny Walker.
Murphy and Doyle graduated from H.L. Bourgeois High School in Gray this year. The pair had been dating since May, when they attended prom together, loved ones said.
About a quarter mile of Savanne Road was blocked off for more than two hours early Sunday morning as troopers investigated the scene. Bricks from the mailbox, as well as pieces of the pickup, were scattered for about a hundred feet along the road and in the water.
On Sunday afternoon, some of the pieces of the pickup, as well as Murphy's clothing, remained along the side of the road. A group of the couple's friends went to the site where the wreck happened. They tied a balloon to an electrical pole, and placed flowers there, all while fighting back tears and hugging each other.
According to Lisa Doyle, Amanda's mother, and other sources, Amanda and Stephen had left their home off Southdown Mandalay Road at about 10 p.m. Saturday to go to a friend's house to watch movies. The pair were heading back home when the wreck happened, family said, and Amanda had been drinking as well.
Family and friends said it didn't take long for word to spread about the wreck. Lisa Doyle said she got word that her daughter had died from a visit from troopers at about 4:30 a.m. By about 9 a.m., friends said they had heard the news.
“I thought it was a joke. I said ‘this isn't real,'” said Devin Flint, a friend.