La. chief's son fought cops, had drugs in car
By Gwen Filosa, Staff writer
Copyright 2006 The Times-Picayune Publishing Company
The son of Abita Springs Police Chief Thelma Naquin landed in jail Saturday after scrapping with officers who pulled him over on Highway 41 only to discover narcotics in the man's car, Pearl River police said.
Charles Blanchard Jr., 23, is charged with 13 counts -- including not wearing a seat belt, speeding, battery on two police officers, and possession of methadone, Valium and marijuana -- that arose from the traffic stop Friday at 11:49 p.m.
Blanchard, of Folsom, was driving 76 mph in a 45 mph zone when Pearl River Police Sgt. Dale Pichon stopped him, police spokesman Capt. Chet Bowen said.
"He presented all indications that he was very intoxicated on some kind of substance," Bowen said Saturday. "He became very belligerent; he intimidated the police, and then it started escalating. He became downright violent."
Police called in for backup, and Pichon wound up at the hospital for treatment of an injured hand. He will remain off the job until a doctor clears him, Bowen said.
Blanchard was being processed Saturday in Pearl River and was on his way to Covington for more processing. He will face the slew of misdemeanor and felony charges in St. Tammany Parish court.
In addition to battery and narcotics, Blanchard is accused of threatening a public official, public intimidation of a police officer, possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, speeding and resisting arrest.
Blanchard made no formal statement to police after being arrested, Bowen said, but during the traffic stop made clear that his mother held public office.
"We had no clue he was related to a pillar of the community in Abita Springs until he started throwing names," said Bowen, who pronounced Naquin a "very nice lady" and her son a troubled young man with prior brushes with the law.
"People think they can fight the police, and they always wind up losing," Bowen said. "I think his state of mind was off the deep end when he decided to make that decision."
Naquin took over the tiny police department in Abita Springs two years ago, inheriting an office sullied by a public bribery scandal that rocked the town and culminated in the conviction of former elected Chief James Lala for selling police commissions to pad his pocketbook.
Two other officers were caught selling high-powered police weapons for personal profit.
Abita Springs Mayor Louis Fitzmorris appointed Naquin as chief in March 2004. She is the first appointed chief in the 100-year history of the town and the first woman to ever hold the job.
Naquin cleaned house at the Abita Springs Police Department, found a new building for police headquarters, brought in federal grant money to buy computers and started a self-defense program for women. Townspeople praise her for both hiring a school crossing guard and healing the department's wounded relationship with residents.
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Gwen Filosa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 826-3304.
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