THE INVESTIGATORS: Mother pushes for justice after son dies in Nicholson crash

Gail Roberts is pushing for justice after her son, James Roberts, was killed in a crash on Nicholson Drive last month.
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 4:33 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:15 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gail Roberts is pushing for justice after her son, James Roberts, was killed in a crash on Nicholson Drive last month. Roberts was a 21-year-old sophomore at Southern University and was hit while riding his motorcycle near the intersection of Nicholson and Aster.

Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the moment an SUV plowed into a motorcycle before slamming into a car. Roberts was rushed to the hospital where he died two days later.

”It’s not fair,” said Gail Roberts. “He was 21 years old and he didn’t even have a chance at life.”

Roberts says she has not been able to rest or eat since she got the call in the middle of the night about her baby and she will never forget seeing him in the hospital.

”My baby’s face was ran over. His bones were crushed in his face. His eye was gone. His teeth were gone and his mouth was way over there. His legs were broke and his ribs were crushed. In my heart, I knew my baby was gone,” said Roberts. “I knew he was gone the night of the accident. I knew he was gone because I felt it in my heart.”

Roberts says James was her protector and it’s been that way since she lost her husband 15 years ago.

”James was loving, caring, outgoing and full of life. I remember when I lost his dad 15 years ago and he was only four,” said Roberts. “He was like, ‘mom don’t cry, I’m going to take care of you. I’m the man now and I’m going to take care of you’.”

The family is from New Orleans but James was in Baton Rouge, studying to be an engineer at Southern University. Roberts was sad that he was away from home and scared of his passion for motorcycles.

”I said James, don’t get that motorbike,” Roberts said.

The mother’s fear would be justified when her son was hit. Weeks later, Roberts says the worst part is being left without answers, despite saying she has gone to the Baton Rouge Police Department several times.

”I went there personally myself three times and I haven’t heard anything,” said Roberts.

WAFB reached out to BRPD to get answers but they are very limited on what they’ve been able to release about the crash. As of right now, no one has been charged in the deadly wreck. Police tell WAFB the driver of the SUV pulled out from a stop sign and that the driver of the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet. The investigation is ongoing and they are waiting on toxicology results from the driver of the SUV.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Roberts if she believes someone should be facing charges regardless of whether the driver was impaired.

“Yes because they didn’t stop,” Roberts said. “They just kept on going. He had the right of way and they just kept going through oncoming traffic.” While police continue their investigation, Roberts says she will not give up until she gets justice for her son.

”They need to go to jail,” Roberts said.

A spokesman with BRPD said charges are still on the table, regardless of what the toxicology report reveals.

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