Last night after the battle for the Crab trap the bat line began ringing off the hook here at the mobile offices of Slabbed New Media saying there was a multi-car accident with injury on Highway 90 at Washington Street and controversial Bay St Louis Building Official Charles Oliver not only caused the accident but was also arrested for DUI by the Hancock County Sheriff. Let’s begin Slabbed’s coverage with the Seacoast Echo:
“I’m afraid (the Steamer mishap) was just the tip of the iceberg,” Bay St. Louis architect Michael Reeves said recently.
Reeves said there are several other projects in the area that he believes aren’t quite up to national building codes, particularly for handicapped accessibility.
He said he fears that the flurry of building activity, combined with a limited pool of inspectors with the proper safety training and knowledge, is a recipe for disaster. Despite Reeves’ concerns, that won’t be the case in Bay St. Louis, Bay Building Official Charles Oliver said Friday.
“We believe in safety first,” Oliver said. He pointed to Tripletails Bar & Grill as an example.
Anyone that read that particular piece of propaganda from our state sponsored newspaper of record would certain see the irony as newly constructed non ADA compliant commercial structures have popped up from time to time in Bay St Louis under Oliver’s tenure as the unlicensed chief of the Bay St Louis building department. While he can’t pass the test to get the credential he is a long time friend of Bay St Louis Mayor Les Fillingame and that is meaningful here in Bay St Louis. How about we take a second stab at the DUI arrest:
In other words, Oliver said, “Whatever you have sticking out, you have to have sticking in. The code says you have to have 50 percent of the length of the exterior sticking in. Here, he’s got 70 percent sticking in.
Folks I apologize I can’t seem to get these Seacoast Echo links to work this morning. Luckily I have a video of Mr. Oliver in handcuffs doing the perp walk leaving the hospital after he had blood drawn:
This is where the details begin to get a bit fuzzy but I was able to get some clarity from a public official that I will not name as they are not authorized to speak about such matters to the media. You see there are two versions of Oliver’s treatment after his arrest but they can be reconciled into one complete narrative but first we need to get Mr. Oliver’s version of events leading to his arrest.
According to Oliver and his emerging DUI defense strategy:
Details were sketchy at the scene, but witnesses said Oliver – driving a 1955 or ’56 Chevy – was reportedly driving in the right lane of the east-bound side of Hwy. 90 and was apparently having problems with the right rear tire of the vehicle.
“I heard his brakes lock up,” John DeSalvo of Bay St. Louis, who was involved in the accident, said at the scene. “He tried to swerve right and missed a Volvo, but he clipped a blue Chevy HHR, and then hit the back of my Yukon.”
The HHR also apparently careened into another vehicle, a white pick-up truck, after impacting with Oliver’s vehicle.
However according to another eye witness to the accident that emailed Slabbed New Media immediately after the accident:
I saw a car crash a little while ago and the guy that was driving was arrested for DUI. He is a bay St. Louis code enforcement officer……..This car crash tonight was pretty significant. He was driving in orange fifty something Chevrolet and hit three other cars at approx 50mph.
The intersection where the accident occurred has a traffic signal. To set things up for those of you that are out of town we’ve had Cruisin’ the Coast going on all week and it is a major tourist event that many locals like myself tolerate because the highways become jammed packed with vintage autos cruising down Highway 90 in both lanes of traffic doing 35 from Bay St Louis to Ocean Springs. Here in Bay St Louis the party starts on Thursday and for all practical purposes does not stop until Sunday night. My point is after the last night’s football game involving cross town rivals plus Cruisin’ the Coast, Highway 90 in Bay St Louis was a happening place full of traffic last night, especially at that intersection.
The mental picture I formed was one of cars waiting at the light or proceeding at low speed in traffic through the intersection when Oliver plowed into them, according to Slabbed’s eyewitness “at approx 50mph” which is roughly the speed limit of the Highway. Mr. Oliver is contending through his spokesman it was his back tire going haywire. How about another video since it appears the folks at the Sun Herald have one too:
Here is where the rumor mill comes in because Slabbed has been told by multiple sources that Oliver was released on his own recognizance after he was booked with First Offense DUI. However, other sources have indicated that a bond in the amount of $1,500 was set for Oliver. Both assertions are true. Again according to a public official that I will not name as they are not authorized to speak about such matters to the media:
[Justice Court Judge] “Jay Lagasse signed a blood warrant and $1,500 bond” to be paid “after 8 hours of ‘sleep off time’ “.
However far less than 8 hours later, Oliver was released at 3:28AM from the Hancock County jail on his own recognizance without payment of the $1,500 bond ordered by Judge Lagasse. Rumors are swirling that Bay St Louis Mayor Les Fillingame was instrumental in securing Oliver’s release on his own recognizance from the County jail early this morning. Slabbed has been told the County Sheriff has the discretion to release such perpetrators based upon the totality of the facts at their sole discretion.
However, blood was drawn and it will be sent to the state crime lab for analysis, which could result in the related DUI charges against Mr. Oliver being upgraded to felony DUI. This case is assigned to the Hancock County Justice Court.
As someone that has been to the funeral of a 5 year old child killed by a drunk driver and seen first hand the pain associated with a mother having to bury their 20ish year old son killed by a drunk driver during the holidays, lifers at Slabbed know we’re editorially hardcore on this subject and support as a matter of editorial policy prosecuting such offenders to the fullest extent of the law.
Finally as a parent of a child that was on that stretch of highway last night, I’m thankful the injuries caused by Mr. Oliver’s accident appear to be minor. Please folks, don’t drink and drive because the people on the other end of these accidents caused by drunk drivers are anothers child, parent or loved one. The pain such reckless behavior causes is beyond senseless.