Lapeyre seeks plea deal

By CRAIG ALANIZ
Reporter/Photographer
press@portisabelsouthpadre.com 

gavelA plea deal has been worked out for a fatal DWI case that happened on South Padre Island in February 2011. Darla Lapeyre is expected to plead guilty to negligent homicide in March.

Jimmie Anklam, a tourist from Michigan visiting South Padre Island in 2011 when his motorcycle was hit by a vehicle with an alleged drunk driver, he later passed at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen.

Trisha Majumdar, daughter of Anklam, said she was informed of the plea deal through an email sent by the Assistant District Attorney and confirmed it with the District Attorney with a phone call. She said with the plea the case will not go to trial.

Majumdar said the charges were originally for intoxication manslaughter when her father passed away, but were lowered for no specific reason. She said the deal is a much lesser charge that will not require jail time.

“I am outraged at the lack of justice,” Majumdar said.

Majumdar said sentencing is scheduled for the end of March. She said her family may take the case to civil court.

“This accident has devastated my family – my sister was married this year and I had a baby girl – both of which my dad missed. However, Ms. Lapeyre goes about her life as if nothing as if nothing has happened,” Majumdar said.

Read this story in the Jan. 24 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.portisabelsouthpadre.com/2013/01/24/lapeyre-seeks-plea-deal/

3 comments

    • Michelle Davis on January 25, 2013 at 10:59 am
    • Reply

    I am Jimmie’s niece, and this accident has devastated our family. It is a shame that not only were the intoxicated manslaughter charges lowered, but early on the “driving without insurance” charges were also dismissed. In addition to that, my Aunt was also injured in this accident, and sustained serious injuries, there have been NO CHARGES filed in regard to her injuries. Ms. Lapeyre still has her license, her job, and her life. Furthermore, we have heard that her attorney is requesting UNSUPERVISED probation, no jail time, and that this we removed from her record upon completion…if that is the case in a year or two it really will be as if the whole thing never happened, at least for Ms. Lapeyre.

    Not only did I watch my cousin get married without her Dad present, missing the ever important Father- Daughter dance (my Uncle was an Amazing Dancer…and this dance was a high point of her older sisters wedding). As the article stated my other cousin give birth to her second daughter, a little girl who will never know her amazing grand father, I have witnessed her first daughter still inquiring to her Mom…about where her Papa is…and the subsequent, repeated gut-wrenching explanation to a 4 year old that Papa is now in heaven. When she asks…why? No one can really respond.

    My father is Jimmie’s older brother, beyond that they were best friends and talked several times a day, the loss of his brother and the subsequent dismissal and lowering of charges has added insult to injury for our family. I have watched my father become depressed due to grief and loss, disillusioned with the justice system, and experience serious health complications due to stress since the accident. I am a licensed mental health provider, and as such I am well aware of the impact that stress has on an individuals health. Since the loss of his brother my father has had cardiac issues, heart surgery, and an overall worsening of his other medical conditions. The reality is that due to Ms. Lapyere’s actions that day, my sister’s and I will likely lose our father earlier due to the decline in his health due to grief and stress.

    I have included a link to an article to support my statement about grief and its impact on health.
    http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/your-health-and-grief/

    I have heard although I am not sure if its true that a city official posted Ms. Lapeyre’s bail and that she is related to a Mayor of a near by city, I can’t help but wonder what impact her political connections may have on her extremely lenient, almost non-existent repercussions for her actions. It is a terrible thing to be so far away and feel so helpless when something so egregious happens. I wouldn’t wish this upon any family.

    To summarize ~ Ms. Lapyere works for the South Padre Island Economic Development Corporation, she is in charge of business development. She was allegedly drunk, and driving without insurance when she caused an accident that killed one person and seriously injured another, she still has her license, her job, and will likely serve no jail time. She may not even be monitored on probation. It is alleged that a public official posted her bail. I can’t help but wonder if everyone would have received such a minimal sentence, or if this is just Ms. Lapyere who is able to manage this. I have known of individuals who have served more time on an alcohol related probation violation, when the original charge did not include alcohol and NO one was injured, than Ms. Lapyere will receive.

    I ask people reading this to reflect upon how they would feel if this were their family member. who was killed / injured, and do you think if you were the driver you would have received such minimal sentence? It would be great to get some support from people in the community, stating that it isn’t okay to run over and kill tourists, and pretend it doesn’t happen. Is Ms. Lapeyre really the kind of person and is this the kind of situation you want to represent your community?

    Here is the information to contact if you have any comments regarding her actions. This was easily available by a google search.

    http://www.southpadreislandedc.com/contact-us
    Darla Lapeyre, Executive Director, Board Secretary
    956-243-8416 email spiedc@aol.com

    http://www.co.cameron.tx.us/district_attorney/contact_us.htm

    State of Texas v. Darla Lapeyre
    Case no. 11-CR-1861-G
    Evan Robbins
    Assistant District Attorney
    James E. Robbins – James.Robbins@co.cameron.tx.us

    Cameron County Mission Statement:
    To uphold the laws of the State of Texas, to represent the citizens of this County, to assist the victims of crime to the best of their ability, to hold those responsible for committing crimes, to seek incarceration for those individuals who are corrupt by crime and evil making them a danger to society and to see that Justice is done.

      • Ronald Smith on May 10, 2013 at 10:53 pm
      • Reply

      South Padre Island’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) director Darla Lapeyre is ordered back to jail.

      She was first sentenced to six months in jail then released.

      Despite strong opposition by attorney Trey Garza, seven testimonies describing an intelligent hard working woman and dozens of supporters in the courtroom, Judge Elia Cornejo Lopez ruled the EDC director must serve a 180-day jail sentence.

      “Darla is devastated. I mean you could see it in her face as she left the courtroom. She was in tears,” her attorney said.

      The judge explained there had been some confusion when Lapeyre was released from jail in April, but says the time behind bars must be served.

      Lapeyre is allowed to do her time in jail on the weekends so she can keep her job as EDC director and meet the terms of her 5 year probation.

      Lapeyre’s supporters were livid following the ruling and even attempted to block Action 4 News from getting a comment from her as she exited the courtroom.

      “They are obstructing her job by sending her back to jail on the weekends,” a Lapeyre supporter said.

      Lapeyre will have to report to the Carrizales Rucker Detention Center every Friday by 6 p.m. and will be incarcerated until 6 a.m. Monday morning.

      The judge says the court will work with Lapeyre and will allow her to reschedule her weekend jail stay if she has to fulfill weekend work duties.

      Lapeyre must serve her 180 days in jail within the next two years.

      Also as part of her five year probation period, she must install an interlock alcohol device in her vehicle for a year

    • doug anklam on January 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm
    • Reply

    Not surprised at all. Not even unbelievable for the justice system in south Texas. I truly hope every family with a person in prison for this same crime have their cases re-opened. Just because she had a good job and knew people got her off pretty much scot free. WOW! I visited my cousin the day they declared him dead and his wife was in a wheel chair not even realizing what was going on. We were going to have some fun together here in South Texas. This is my 6th year here, JIMMY ANKLAM made it only 6 days in 2011. Almost 2 years to the day to get this sweet deal.

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