Louisiana State Police say there were two crashes on I-49 Friday night, one in St. Landry Parish and another in Avoyelles Parish; in all, five people died in those crashes.
In St. Landry Parish, around 9 P.M., a two-vehicle crash on I-49 southbound in St. Landry Parish near mile marker 40 claimed three siblings from Jeanerette and a Georgia man, according to a Louisiana State Police spokesperson.
Their investigation revealed John Lundy of Dallas, Georgia was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck north in the southbound lanes of I-49 when it struck another vehicle head on. In that vehicle, a 2017 Cadillac XT5-SUV, was the driver, Lindy Rae Simmons, of Jeanerette.
That head-on collision claimed Lundy, 54, Lindy Rae Simmons, 20, Kamryn Simmons, 14, and Christopher Simmons, 16.
The driver of the pick-up truck, Lundy, and driver of the SUV, Lindy Rae Simmons, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Kamryn and Christopher Simmons, Lindy Rae's brother and sister, were transported to local hospitals where they ultimately succumbed to their injuries.
Two other passengers, including Simmons' mom, were also transported and now are listed in critical condition.
Standard toxicology samples were obtained from both drivers; results are pending at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab. Lundy's seat-belt use is unknown and Lindy Rae was restrained, they say.
This crash remains under investigation.
State Police say, "In one night the lives of several families have changed forever due to preventable circumstances. Over and over again, Troopers see the tragic consequences of preventable motor vehicle crashes. The Louisiana State Police urges motorists to have a plan in place that includes always wearing your seat belt, never driving distracted or tired, and having a designated driver or an alternate ride home when consuming alcohol. Please choose to not drive impaired or ride with an impaired driver."
In Avoyelles Parish, Troop E say shortly before 10:30 p.m. Friday night, a Trooper in a fully marked Louisiana State Police unit, utilizing his emergency lights, was stationary while blocking both southbound lanes of I-49 at LA 106, to divert traffic off of the interstate onto the exit ramp due to the earlier fatal crash at mile marker 40 in St. Landry Parish.
The initial investigation revealed 86-year-old Billy M. Lee of Terrell, Texas was traveling south on I-49 in a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado.
For reasons still under investigation, State Police says the Silverado approached the detour and struck the right front of the stationary LSP unit in the right travel lane. Despite restraint use, Lee was pronounced dead at the scene. The Trooper sustained minor injuries.
Blood evidence was obtained from both drivers and will be submitted for analysis. Impairment is not suspected as a factor and this crash remains under investigation.
Troopers say, "We urge citizens to remember that Louisiana’s “Move Over” law keeps EVERYONE safe. As motorists approach first responders and any vehicle utilizing hazard/warning lights, please Move Over. Slow down and raise your level of awareness. In the presence of emergency lights, watch for slower traffic, detours, changes in road conditions or workers in the area."
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