More information released in crash that killed 11-year-old girl

Posted at 4:20 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 17:20:25-04

We have more information today in the incident that left an 11-year-old girl dead. 

Police say Bryla Bell died when the car she was trying to drive hit a tree in Opelousas. 

Relatives told KATC this weekend that the child was picked up by two men in a stolen car. Her mother tried to catch them but lost them, relatives said. A witness saw the two men get out of the vehicle on Creswell Lane, and then Bell took the wheel and tried to flee from police. Police say that’s when she crashed into a tree near St. Landry Catholic Church. 

Today, Opelousas Police Chief Donald Thompson said the car wasn’t stolen. The two young men were using it with the permission of the owner, he said. 

Police have found those two young men, and are questioning them about the details leading up to the crash, the chief said. 

Opelousas spokeswoman Crystal Leblanc identified the two young men in an email this evening. KATC will not use their names unless and until they are arrested. 

"Due to jurisdictional reasons and Prosecution of the case file the St Landry Parish Sheriff’s  will conduct the investigation on the criminal side due to this initially starting outside of the city limits of Opelousas," Leblanc wrote. "The Opelousas City Police will conduct the investigation of the traffic crash resulting in the fatality and reconstruction of the scene."

Any questions about the rest of the incident should be directed to the St. Landry Parish Sheriff, she said. 

A spokesman for Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said detectives are interviewing the two men identified by Leblanc. They have not been arrested as of 5 p.m., the spokesman said. 

The investigation is continuing. 

Bell was buried today.