Three people died in two separate car crashes Sunday, State Police say.
At about 6:30 p.m., troopers were called to La. 70 just south of Stephensville Elementary in St. Martin Parish. Two people died in that crash: Shirley Chaisson, 83, and Jeffery Holmes, 34, both of Morgan City.
Troopers say the initial investigation revealed Chiasson was driving eastbound on LA 70 when she pulled onto the improved shoulder then attempted to perform a U-turn in the roadway. At the same time, Holmes was driving east on LA 70 on a 2019 Honda CRF motorcycle. The front of the motorcycle struck the left side of the Camry in the eastbound lane of travel.
Chiasson was unrestrained and suffered fatal injuries. Her front seat passenger was transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries. Holmes was wearing a DOT approved helmet but also suffered fatal injuries. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene by the St. Martin Parish Coroner’s Office. A standard toxicology sample was obtained for analysis and this crash remains under investigation.
An hour later, around 7:30 p.m., troopers were called to the scene of a single-vehicle crash on La. 115 north of La. 106 in Evangeline Parish. One person died in that crash: Jaworski Christmas, 41, of Bunkie.
Troopers say the initial investigation revealed that the crash occurred as Christmas was driving south on LA 115 in a 2017 Dodge Charger at a high rate of speed. Christmas failed to negotiate a curve and the vehicle he was driving ran off the roadway. After leaving the roadway, the Charger struck an embankment then several trees.
Christmas was unrestrained at the time of the crash. He pronounced deceased at the scene by the Evangeline Parish Coroner’s Office. His passenger was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. Impairment is unknown but a standard toxicology sample was obtained for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.
As this is the fourth fatal crash and fifth fatality this weekend in the Troop I area, Troopers want to remind motorists that we see many factors contributing to preventable crashes. Impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding, and lack of seat belt use continue to be major factors in these preventable crashes.
"We encourage everyone to have a plan before getting behind the wheel impaired. Drivers, please put the phones down and focus on the task of driving. Slow down and buckle up for every ride every time," troopers say.
Troop I has investigated 45 fatal crashes resulting in 51 deaths since the beginning of 2022.