NEW ORLEANS — After a two-day trial, a six-person Kenner jury took less than an hour to acquit a 47-year-old woman of the most serious charges against her in a fatal road rage incident in January 2020 along West Esplanade.
Shannon Alvarez was acquitted Wednesday night of negligent homicide and 3rd-degree feticide in the crash that took the life of 22-year-old Jade Lewis, who was nine months pregnant at the time of the accident, court records show. Both of the felony charges could have landed Alvarez in prison for up to five years.
On a separate misdemeanor count of reckless operation, Judge Frank Brindisi found Alvarez guilty and sentenced her to 90 days of home incarceration.
Lewis’ death in the accident was attributed to road rage that unfolded over a mile stretch of West Esplanade. Kenner Police said each of the women would not let the other merge into a lane of traffic.
The case became high-profile in the community after Lewis’ family posted two billboards in Kenner with Jade Lewis’ picture and the words “Stop Road Rage, It Kills.”
But at trial, defense attorneys Michael Raspanti and his father Joseph Raspanti presented an accident reconstruction expert who testified that Lewis sped up to more than 70 mph and turned her car into Alvarez’s car, causing both to crash.
“It was a very sad and tragic event, but we feel that justice ultimately was done,” Joseph Raspanti said.