The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
The 30-year-old Lomas died July 7 during an early-morning bike ride along La. 92 between Milton and Youngsville when a vehicle struck him from behind and left him in a water-filled ditch along the roadway in which he would later drown.
Lomas’ death is made all the more tragic considering the strong likelihood that he could have been saved had the driver opted against leaving the scene that morning. And if things would have turned out that way, Lomas would have come back from his ride to begin celebrating his seven-year wedding anniversary with his wife and two young children.
But that’s not how the situation unfolded, as the man who allegedly hit Lomas along La. 92 near Mermentau Road — about a block from Lomas’ neighborhood — was driving with a suspended license and continued on his way headed toward Youngsville. An autopsy confirmed that Lomas died from drowning, not from injuries sustained in the hit-and-run.
Yet shortly after the accident, according to police, 42-year-old Fitzpatrick Doucette pulled into the police station in Kaplan to report that he’d just hit “something.”
That was a Monday, and by Sunday, Doucette was arrested and charged with driving under suspension, felony hit-and-run and negligent homicide.
According to this report from KATC TV3, Doucette’s bond, for unknown reasons, was only set for the suspended license charge, not the two felonies. And earlier this week, after posting the $10,000 bond, Doucette was released.
For the Lomas family, Doucette’s quick release has been hard to swallow.
“The guy walked out of jail on a mere $10,000 bond, and we’re pretty upset about it,” Lon’s father, Anthony Lomas tells KATC. “I realize that we’re not into the penalty phase of this. And that was just a preliminary procedure. But I just feel like they’re getting started on the wrong foot.”
Lon’s death has also left his family grappling with a belief that his life could’ve been saved had the driver pulled his vehicle over that morning instead of driving off.
“He may have been saved had the driver stopped to investigate what he hit,” Lon’s uncle Mike Deriso tells KATC. “Why he didn’t do it is beyond me. Fear? But my best guess is that he was driving under suspension when he left the house. He was breaking the law when he left home.”