Melerine convicted of vehicular homicide

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2011

A Franklinton man who was charged with DWI plus two counts of vehicular homicide after an accident in rural Washington Parish last June, has been found guilty as charged for the homicides, according to District Attorney Walter Reed.

Jason Melerine, 20, was found guilty Wednesday after a three-day trial.

A six person Washington Parish jury deliberated 40 minutes before returning the guilty verdicts to 22nd Judicial District Judge William Crain, Reed said.  Assistant District Attorney Lewis Murray was in charge of preparation and presentation of the state’s case.

Melerine was arrested by the Louisiana State Police after he wrecked his pickup truck in a curve at the intersection of Louisiana Highway 424 and D.C. Crain Road. Two passengers in the truck, Beth Bria, 18, and Jason Crain, 23, died as a result of the crash.

It was determined that Melerine had been traveling at a high rate of speed, and that his blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit at the time, according to the DA. 

The jury found Melerine liable.

Crain will sentence him on July 18. A conviction for vehicular homicide carries a penalty of five to 30 years’ imprisonment with or without hard labor.

Melerine faces charges in addition to those levied in June, 2010. He was able to bond out after the accident, but in January, just over six months after he got his first DWI, Melerine got his second DWI in Tangipahoa Parish.