New Orleans man sentenced in Bridge City bicyclist’s hit-and-run death

A New Orleans man was sentenced to serve six years in prison to be followed by two years of probation for his conviction last month of the hit-and-run death of a Bridge City bicyclist.

Taurus C. Hale, 21, was convicted of killing Bruce McJilton, 65. McJilton was riding his bicycle north on Nine Mile Point Road just north of the Westbank Expressway on Feb. 15 2017, when about 10:30 p.m., Hale struck him head-on while driving his 2003 Honda Odyssey.

Hale continued driving without stopping or notifying authorities. About 7 a.m. the following day, a passing motorist spotted McJilton’s body on the grassy shoulder, near his bicycle and debris from Hales’ minivan that was scattered in the northbound lane.

“I cannot imaging smashing into and crushing an animal let alone a person and leaving them to lie on side of the road,” McJilton’s brother Eric McJilton, said in impact testimony. “The cold heartedness one must have is inexplicable.

“I am shocked and appalled that a person could be so callus as to run a person over and not stop,” Eric McJilton testified. Hale “destroyed, obliterated my brother’s existence without as much as a phone call.”

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office was able to identify Hale’s vehicle as being involved later that day and went to his mother’s home. Hale then told investigators that he believed he was involved in a wreck with another vehicle and, holding liability insurance only, he declined to call police to report the incident.

A six-member Jefferson Parish jury on April 19 found Hale guilty as charged of hit and run driving causing death or serious bodily injury. The maximum punishment for the offense is 10 years in prison.

After hearing impact testimony from three of McJilton’s siblings, Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Hale to eight years in prison. Judge Adams suspended two years and ordered the 6-year balance to be served in state prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

Assistant District Attorneys Matt Clauss and Brittany Beckner prosecuted the case.