Man sentenced to 9 years for injuring teenage sisters while driving under the influence

Published 4:07 pm Monday, December 19, 2022

A Sabine Parish man convicted for seriously injuring two Vernon Parish teenagers while he was driving under the influence was sentenced this week to serve nine years with the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

Ronald Lynn Graves, 64, pleaded guilty in October to two counts of first-degree vehicular negligent injuring and one count of DWI.

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Graves was sentenced by Judge Tony C. Bennett of the 30th Judicial District Court to serve four and a half years for each vehicular negligent injuring charge to run consecutively, and another six months for the DWI charge to run concurrently.

The maximum possible sentence for first degree vehicular negligent injuring is 5 years.

The charges stem from a Jan. 26 collision where Graves struck another vehicle occupied by two teenage sisters head-on while he was driving the wrong way on U.S. 171 between Anacoco and Hornbeck around 6 p.m.

According to authorities, Graves traveled the wrong way on the highway for several miles before the collision, and a dash cam recovered from Graves’ vehicle captured him narrowly missing several other vehicles including one occupied by a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Agent.

The two teenage victims reportedly suffered serious injuries that District Attorney Terry Lambright said will present lifelong challenges for the girls.

“The lives of two young girls were instantly changed by a poor decision made by Mr. Graves. I pray that they will one day be able to recover from not only the emotional, but the physical damage caused to them by this defendant. I appreciate that the judge agreed that this was a serious case with serious consequences for the victims and sentenced this defendant to near maximum sentences, and that he ran them consecutively to one another. These two young ladies are very lucky to be alive, but they have shown their true character and strength throughout this process. I believe stronger maximum penalties are warranted for drunk drivers that cause injuries as serious as the ones sustained in this accident,” Lambright said.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Heath Dillon.