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Driver in Avoyelles Parish crash that killed Lauren Vaughn pleads not guilty

Alex Orenczuk

Aug 22, 2023

Driver in Avoyelles Parish crash that killed Lauren Vaughn pleads not guilty

AVOYELLES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The driver in an Avoyelles Parish crash on April 7 that killed 22-year-old Lauren Vaughn of Alexandria pleaded “not guilty” at his arraignment on Tuesday.

Christopher R. McCoy, 23, of Bunkie, entered that plea to vehicular homicide, DWI first offense, reckless operation, no seat belt, and having an open container charges.

According to Louisiana State Police, McCoy was driving east on LA Hwy 1176 and entered a ditch before hitting a tree. Vaughn, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was killed in the crash while McCoy sustained moderate injuries. LSP reported that McCoy’s BAC was .15, nearly twice the legal limit.

Vaughn’s mother, Bridget Vaughn, told KALB she was not surprised by McCoy’s plea and said she had faith in Assistant District Attorney Anthony Salario, who is prosecuting the case.

“That was expected and we are just glad to get this process going so we can get justice for my daughter, Lauren,” said Vaughn. “I think it’s going to be a long road ahead, but we are confident that the ADA will put his best foot forward and do what’s right here and help us get justice.”

A group of Lauren’s family and friends attended McCoy’s arraignment. Vaughn said she appreciates the support her family has received.

“We have so much support,” she said. “We’ve got friends and family and they are all here backing us up and just daily prayers lifting us up and doing whatever needs to happen to make sure nobody forgets Lauren.”

McCoy will head to trial on March 11, 2024. He is being represented by John Calmes. Judge William Bennett is presiding.

Despite being arrested and booked into the Avoyelles Parish jail on June 7, a mugshot for McCoy will not be released under Louisiana’s mugshot law, which was updated in 2022. According to that law, mugshots are released for those charged with crimes of violence. Vehicular homicide is considered a crime of violence, but has stipulations under the law, specifically that a charge is a violent crime “when the operator’s blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.20 percent.” Since McCoy’s BAC was 0.15 percent, it does not apply.

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