Jul 20, 2013 12:09 PM by katc
KATC has investigated a story we brought you earlier this week about a Crowley man, who was sentenced to five years in jail for driving drunk and killing a teenager in 2011. Her family was outraged and had to be restrained in court when the sentence was read. Viewers called us, furious, saying the sentence was too lenient because this wasn't his first drunk driving offense.
So we take a closer look at Tyson Dupuis' record. As we've reported, he's had two previous DWI charges. But it turns out both of those cases were technically expunged from his record, before he killed 18-year-old Michelle Romero.
Tyson Dupuis was 26 years old the first time he was charged with driving drunk. According to court documents, that happened on August 9th 2003. He pleaded guilty under Article 8-94, which allows someone to plead guilty and have that DWI wiped from their record, as long as they complete a court approved substance abuse program. The system allows this for first time offenders, only once every 10 years. But Dupuis somehow was allowed to do this twice in a 4 year period, pleading under 8-94 again to a DWI charge in 2007.
District Attorney Mike Harson says, "I know at the time we were making changes in Vermillion Parish with my traffic assistant. I don't know if that may have...aided it or aided the error or whatever the case may be."
Harson explains even if Dupuis hadn't pleaded under 8-94 to that second DWI charge, he still would have had his license back by 2011, and during the time of his third drunk driving charge when he killed Michelle Romero.
"Even if the 8-94 had not been allowed, under the law as a second offender even if he had been subject to a suspension of his driving privileges for two years, which mean that by the year 2009, approximately july he would have been eligible for re-instatement of his license anyway," Harson adds.
Allison Bourne Vanneck
10 hours ago