Driver charged in death of passenger in Pearl River La. accident

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 10, 2015


O’Neal. Submitted photo.

Pearl River Police arrested the driver involved in the single-car accident on Interstate 59 in Pearl River, which resulted in the death of 19-year-old Amanda Bankston and her unborn child.

On Friday, April 3, 23-year-old Matthew Aver O’Neal of 106 Verbenia Dr. Picayune, was taken into custody and charged with driving under suspension, child endangerment, vehicular homicide and third degree feticide, Pearl River Police Department Detective Marco Lopez said.

The Item previously reported that the car accident occurred at around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 29. When Pearl River Police responded to the scene, they found a Chevrolet Blazer overturned along the northbound lane of I-59. Bankston was pronounced dead at the scene. O’Neal suffered minor injuries while the two-year-old child also inside the car was uninjured, Lopez said.

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The arrest was made after O’Neal’s statement regarding the accident didn’t match evidence found at the scene, Lopez said.

Lopez declined to elaborate on the details due to the ongoing investigation.

O’Neal is currently in the St. Tammany Parish jail. His bond is set at $150,000, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Capt. George Bonnett said.