Photo: Lybeth Hardy
Two Port Barre (LA) police officers were treated for injuries over the weekend after a hit-and-run investigation led to a violent confrontation with some neighborhood residents, according to Chief Deon Boudreaux.
One officer was treated for injuries after a 15-year-old struck him in the head with a fishing pole, while the other suffered an arm injury after he was struck with a metal folding chair, Boudreaux said.
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The chief said the officer who was struck with a fishing pole then aimed his gun at the teen, while other officers used pepper spray against the aggressive crowd that swarmed officers responding to a hit-and-run complaint in the 100 block of East Courtableau Drive.
“These officers were there to investigate a hit-and-run crash but instead had to fight with a family of all ages, defend their own lives and nearly had to use deadly force, all because of the disrespect and aggressive lifestyle that was taught from parents to children,” Boudreaux said in a statement. “Had back up not arrived, had there been deadlier weapons laying around the yard, an officer, a husband, a father, could’ve lost his life over a hit and run complaint. A 15-year-old young man could have lost his life had it not been for the compassion and restraint by that police officer.”
The confrontation began shortly after midnight. A caller reported a reckless driver lost control of a vehicle, struck a tree and a parked vehicle and drove away.
Officers found the vehicle at a nearby home, where Lybeth Hardy and her 15-year-old son answered the door but began cursing at officers and telling them to get off the property. They reportedly refused to answer questions and wouldn’t allow them to speak with the owner of the vehicle, Hardy’s husband, because he was allegedly sleeping.
Police say Hardy told them she was in the vehicle with her kids, but she wouldn’t say who was driving. At the same time, about a dozen people had gathered from around the neighborhood as police say the teenager continued to curse and threaten officers. Police indicated that others from the neighborhood began approaching officers in an aggressive manner as well.
The officers say they tried to arrest Hardy, but the crowd, consisting of adults, teenagers and younger children, started screaming and yelling at the police, and approached in a quick and aggressive manner. Officers say they began to use pepper spray to defend themselves from the crowd.
At this time, police say Hardy’s 15-year-old son picked up a large fishing pole and struck an officer behind the head, knocking him to the ground, and continued to strike the officer. The 15-year-old reportedly dropped the fishing pole and ran after the officer pulled out his gun and aimed it at the teen because he said he feared for his life.
Lybeth Hardy was arrested and charged with reckless operation of a motor vehicle, hit and run, and resisting an officer. Her teenage son and her teenage daughter were both arrested for second-degree battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. Hardy has bonded out of jail, and the two juveniles were booked and released.