Woman arrested after 8-year-old daughter, injured in hit-and-run, tests positive for cocaine

Meagen Banai

BURNSIDE, La. – A woman who drove a stolen car off the road and into a pond with her eight-year-old daughter unrestrained in the front seat has been arrested after the girl tested positive for cocaine and other drugs.

While investigating a hit-and-run on October 6 just after 9:30 p.m. off Highway 44 in rural Ascension Parish, Louisiana State Troopers found a 2017 Hyundai Sonata submerged in a residential pond.

Troopers determined that the vehicle, which had been abandoned in the pond, had crossed several driveways and crashed through a portable toilet before splashing down in the pond.

It was apparent that the driver of the SUV was wearing a seatbelt, while the passenger was not, according to the LSP.

Drug paraphernalia was found inside the Hyundai, along with items that belonged to 30-year-old Meagen Banai.

When Troopers contacted the owner of the vehicle, it was determined that Banai did not have permission to drive it.

Banai’s eight-year-old daughter was injured in the crash, but Banai did not bring her to the hospital.

When a family member brought the girl to the hospital for treatment, doctors found cocaine and Benzodiazepine, a common ingredient in Xanax, in her system, according to the LSP.

After obtaining a search warrant, Troopers arrested Banai on October 20 at her Denham Springs residence, where they found cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Banai then tried to escape custody after Troopers brought her to the hospital for treatment.

She has been booked into the Ascension Parish jail on charges of hit and run driving, careless operation, operating a vehicle with a suspended license, no child passenger restraint, negligent injuring, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession with intent to distribute schedule iv cds, possession of drug paraphernalia, second degree cruelty to juvenile, and simple escape.

Banai also faces charges of possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia from the Denham Springs Police Department, who assisted in her arrest.