New Year's Eve night life results in two deaths, several injuries

MGN Online
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - 3:05pm

New Year's Eve crashes results in the death of two and several injuries across South Louisiana.

Throughout the evening and early morning hours, Troopers across South Louisiana investigated several fatal and serious injury crashes that resulted in the death of two occupants, the severe life-threatening injuries to another, and moderate to severe injuries to nine other motor vehicle occupants.

Louisiana also made nearly 50 DWI arrests across the state preventing an incalculable number of additional fatal and injury crashes. 

The first fatal crash happened just after 10:30 p.m. on Louisiana Highway 67 just south of Louisiana Highway 64 in East Baton Rouge Parish.

A truck driven by Christopher Price, 20, of Zachary was driving on Highway 67 when for unknown reasons he collided into a car driven by Patricia W. Titus, 51, of Baton Rouge. After the impact, the collision then involved a Honda driven by Cleola Muse, 71, of Baton Rouge and a Toyota driven by Charmessia Venson, 24, of Baton Rouge.

Titus died at the scene from injuries resulted from the crash. Price, Muse, and Venson all suffered from moderate to severe injuries and were taken to local hospitals. 

Intoxication and seatbelt use is suspected on part of Price and Titus and has not been confirmed at this time. This incident is still under investigation.

A second fatal crash happened shortly before 11:00 p.m on Interstate 10 just eastbound near Causeway Boulevard in Jefferson Parish.

The crash involved three vehicles and claimed the life of an elderly man.

A car driven by William Grosz, 63, of Pearl River, was driving his car on Causeway Boulevard entrance ramp to I-10 east when he attempted to merge into the eastbound lanes, he lost control of his vehicle.

After losing control, the car rotated in a counterclockwise direction and hit a truck traveling in the center lane.

The truck drive by Joel Sistrunk, 25, of Sumrall, Mississippi, hit a Toyota truck  traveling in the east right lane. The Toyota truck was being driven by Richard Macaluso, 53, of New Orleans.

Grosz was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Impairment and seatbelt use is unknown at this time.

Both Sistrunk and Macaluso were properly restrained and received minor injuries in the crash. Both drivers submitted to a breath alcohol test and showed no detectable signs of alcohol.

The crash remains under investigation at this time.

The evening's final serious crash happened at 1:00 a.m. in St. Landry Parish.

Investigations revealed that a Jeep driven by Yvonne Leblanc, 32, of Lebeau, was traveling south on Louisiana Highway 182 just north of LA 10. As the Jeep continued to drive southbound, Leblanc lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road causing the Jeep to overturn and eject all six unrestrained occupants.

Elizabeth Gaines, 40, was riding in the front passenger seat when the vehicle rolled. She ended up trapped under the vehicle upon being ejected and received several severe life-threatening injuries.

There were four children riding in the back seat, ages 7, 10, 10, and 14. All of them received moderate to serious injuries. Leblanc was not injured and was booked into St. Landry Parish Jail. She was charged with 5 counts of vehicular negligence, DWI, child endangerment, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, 4 counts of no child restraint, no seat belt, and failure to obtain motor vehicle insurance.

This crash is till under investigation.


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