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Jul 29, 2010 8:39 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Reactions to Manhunt

Law enforcement agencies have secured a quarter mile area around the intersection of Landry St. and Admiral Doyle in New Iberia. They are searching for Paul Collins, the man wanted for allegedly murdering his ex-wife in St. Martinville.

Collins ran into a sugar cane field around 9:30am. From that point on, they had to put the neighborhood on lock-down. Not only did officials block roads, but beyond the sugar cane fields, there are businesses and homes that had to be secured as well.

Co-Owners of Acadiana Hydraulics, Perry Trahan and Blake Trahan, witnessed Collins wreck the stolen vehicle. Their business is just across Landry Street.

"We heard tires squeal and saw the suburban actually flip and then a guy actually got out and we saw him run into the sugar cane field. About 5 minutes later they (police) had the whole area blocked off. He (Collins) got out of the vehicle pretty quickly so he must have been injured," said the Perry and Blake.

A new subdivision was built on the same block as Acadiana Hydraulics. Residents we spoke with were allowed to come and go, but were warned to lock their doors and stay inside if possible.

Meantime, Park Elementary School is also located just feet from the incident. Luckily, none of the 360 students were in class today. School doesn't begin until August 16th. But, Thursday was the first day for administrators to come back. Principal Evelyn Louis says it was an interesting start to the school year.

"My secretary came to my office and said, 'Ms. Louis there are about 15 police cars out there,' and I was like What!"

Louis says the school immediately went into lock down, enacting the crisis plan they routinely practice. The school holds lock down drills about once a month during the school year. Louis says she's glad the incident didn't happen when children were around, but says it proved that the faculty is prepared to keep students safe.

"If the whole staff and students were here, we'd probably have more of a panic from parents."

Lt. Ryan Turner, with the Iberia Sheriff's Office, says they'll continue to keep the neighborhood on lock-down until Collins is captured.

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