A New Orleans man was convicted Wednesday night (April 18) of hitting and killing a 65-year-old bicyclist on a Bridge City road.
Taurus C. Hale, 21, who at the time of the incident lived in Marrero, was found guilty as charged of hit-and-run driving causing death or serious bodily injury, in which he killed Bruce McJilton about 10:30 p.m., on Feb. 15, 2017.
Hale was driving his 2003 Honda Odyssey south on Nine Mile Point Road, just north of the Westbank Expressway, when he struck McJilton head-on as he rode his bicycle. The impact caused damage on the front driver’s side of the minivan and its windshield, scattering vehicle debris in the northbound lane.
McJilton, of Bridge City, was thrown onto the side of the road. At about 7 a.m., the following day, a passing motorist spotted McJilton’s body on the grassy shoulder, near his bicycle.
That same day, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators identified Hale’s vehicle as being involved and went to his mother’s home. Hale’s attorney called the Sheriff’s Office, offering to surrender him. The attorney also directed deputies to Hale’s minivan, which was parked in New Orleans.
In a statement to deputies, Hale asserted he thought he was involved in an accident with another vehicle that fled, and he did not report the incident because he had only liability insurance. He said he later saw a report on a news website about a pedestrian being killed on Nine Mile Point Road and suspected that he might have been involved.
The six-member Jefferson Parish jury deliberated for just over an hour before returning its verdict about 8 p.m. Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Hale on May 2.
Assistant District Attorneys Matt Clauss and Brittany Beckner prosecuted the case.