Suit filed after Christmas port drownings

Two Terrebonne Parish residents—Yekema Jenkins and Rondell Young—filed suit against the Port of Iberia, the parish government and a contractor last week.

Their father—51-year-old Ronald King of Houma—allegedly drove into a canal at the port in the early morning hours last Christmas with a male passenger; it says the incident happened without warning. 

“It’s so unbelievable that you would have a public road without a sign, a warning or a barricade to prevent you from essentially going off the cliff,” says their attorney David Groner.

According to Groner—the attorney for King’s family—the canal was dug just a couple months prior to King’s accident. He says the pilings, guard rails, and signs are new and weren’t there on that fateful Christmas.

Groner says it was dark, there were no lights, the water was freezing and more than 30 feet deep.

“They struggled to get out of the car and kicked the window out. Eventually, they got out of the car. But, unfortunately, they weren’t able to survive,” says Groner.

We spoke to the defendants in the case: the contractor—Beverly Construction Company—who denied knowing about the case, Port Director Roy Pontiff, who says he cannot comment on the case, and Assistant District Attorney Bobby Odinet, who says he hasn’t even started reviewing it.

“We are aware the lawsuit has been filed. I have not had an opportunity to review the lawsuit itself, so I cannot comment at this time,” says Odinet.

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