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Oberlin town vehicles cited for lack of insurance

Last Modified: Friday, December 14, 2012 10:20 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Oberlin police cited three town vehicles for lack of insurance Wednesday before vehicle insurance was restored that afternoon, Police Chief Grady Haynes said.

After an accident on Dec. 4 revealed that some of Oberlin’s town vehicles were uninsured, Allen Parish District Attorney Todd Nesom issued a memo Monday that all of the town’s uninsured vehicles were to be taken off the road.

“You are to immediately cease and desist the operation of all of the Town of Oberlin’s vehicles on public roads that are not in compliance with LSA-R.S. 32:861,” Nesom’s memo read.

When the vehicles continued to operate Monday and Tuesday, Haynes began issuing citations on town vehicles Wednesday morning, he said.

Haynes said the insurance policy came in Wednesday afternoon.

“If (Mayor Rick Smith) had advised us he had put the check in the mail, I wouldn’t have even written them,” Haynes said.

Haynes blamed the situation on “poor communication on the mayor’s part.”

Smith did not return phone messages left at Town Hall both Thursday and Friday.

Haynes said that he asked the mayor on Friday for answers, but that the mayor “drove away.”

“That’s the problem: He doesn’t communicate with anybody,” Haynes said.

He said it would be up to David Deshotel, the town attorney, whether to proceed with the citations.

The lack of insurance was revealed on Dec. 4 when an Oberlin vehicle driven by John Hammond III collided with an Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office vehicle driven by Lyndon Neal while in pursuit of an escaped convict. State police worked the accident, according to Troop D spokesman Sgt. James Anderson.

Haynes said the lack of insurance forced him to park five police cars, although four were kept on the road.

Nesom said that police cars that are leased were still covered.

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