NewsCovering Louisiana


9-year-old dies after crash; troopers searching for alleged impaired driver

Posted at 5:24 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 18:24:51-04

State Police are searching for a man accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a 9-year-old child.

The accident happened Friday night about 8 p.m. on La. 23 in Gretna.

Abigal Douglas, 9, died Sunday from injuries she sustained in the crash, State Police say. They're now looking for the driver they say was impaired and speeding when he slammed into the van she was riding in, shoving it into another vehicle.

The preliminary investigation indicates Wendell Lachney, 58 was driving south on the highway at a high rate of speed and rear-ended a van that also was southbound. The van was pushed into the rear of a pick-up truck traveling in front of the van, troopers say.

The child was properly restrained and in the third row of the van, but was seriously injured and transported to a hospital.

Lachney, who was unrestrained during the crash, suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He was released from the hospital on the same night. He was placed under arrest transported to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, where he was booked for the following: 1st Degree Negligent Injuring; Reckless Operation; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Possession of Schedule I (Marijuana); Open Container; Seatbelt Violation.

On Saturday October 23, 2021, Lachney was released on bond from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.

On Sunday October 24, 2021, Douglas succumbed to her injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead, troopers say.

After she died, Troopers obtained an arrest warrant for Lachney through the 24th Judicical District for Vehicular Homicide.

Troopers are requesting the public’s assistance in locating Lachney. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts can contact LSP at 504-471-2775; Crimestoppers at 504-822-111; or your local law enforcement agency.