HAMMOND, La. -- A 22-year-old Hammond man admitted in court Monday to driving drunk and killing three Southeastern students.
Derek Quebedeaux pleaded guilty to 10 charges: three counts of vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular negligent injury, and five counts of felony hit and run for the tragic accident back on March 6, 2009.
"My client thinks about this tragedy every day of his life, from the time he gets up in the morning until the time he goes to bed at night," Quebedeaux's attorney, Michael Thiel, said after Monday's plea. "It's a shame we can't go back in time and undo things."
Inside court, the proceedings only took a few minutes. When asked by Judge Doug Hughes if he understood the charges, Quebedeaux responded, "Yes, sir." When asked if it was his desire to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, Quebedeaux responded, "Yes, sir."
Quebedeaux did not get a plea bargain or a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to the ten counts, as charged.
"This was a horrible tragedy, a lot of lives effected," Tangipahoa District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said. "Our job was to prosecute the case as it was brought to us, based on the facts and the evidence and we did that."
The courtroom was packed, both with Quebedeaux's family and friends, and with family and friends of the victims, including the family of Maxime Profit. Several members of the Profit family came to Amite from France for today's plea, including Maxime Profit's mother, Alain.
"Seeing the man who took their son in court today taking a step toward admitting his legal as well as moral responsibility was a comfort to them," Christian Goudeau said. Goudeau is an attorney who works at the French Consolute in Lafayette. He is helping the Profit family.
Alain Profit carried pictures of her late son with her into court.
"This is the last time she saw," Goudeau translated Alain Profit's comments outside court, "the picture on the right is the last picture she has of her son when he left."
The photo shows Maxime Profit at the airport. Goudeau continued, "and the next time they saw him was in a casket."
A memorial still stands on Nashville Avenue in Hammond, at the site of the accident that also killed Beth Boudreau of Husser and Rion Lowe of Kenner.
The Profit family visited the memorial Sunday, and according to Goudeau, were touched by the fresh flowers and the general upkeep.
"They were very touched, very emotional about the outpouring of sympathy and care that this incident has generated," Goudeau added.
Quebedeaux will be sentenced Feb. 15. In total, he faces a possibility of more than 100 years in jail. Defense attorneys met with Judge Doug Hughes about sentencing parameters, but wouldn't speculate about a possible sentence. Quebedeaux is expected to get between 10 and 20 years in jail.
"Derek is ready to accept the consequences of his mistake and to move on with his life," Thiel said.
Quebedeaux did not make a statement in court Monday, but his attorney said, he will make a statement at the time of his sentencing.