Four-car crash in St. Tammany Parish leaves one child dead

Published 7:04 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A four-vehicle crash on Interstate 12 Monday afternoon resulted in the death of a 5-year-old child, Louisiana State Police said.

A 2001 Ford Explorer, driven by Karen S. Mitchell, 46, of Vidor, Texas, was headed eastbound on the highway when the SUV traveled off the left shoulder at about 2:22 p.m, Trooper First Class Louis Calato said in a news release.

Mitchell overcorrected and her car rotated out of control, traveling into and across the median, Calato said.

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A 2005 Ford Focus, driven by Joseph Conway, 36, of Gulfport, Miss., that was westbound, traveled into the median to avoid Mitchell’s car but was sideswiped when Mitchell entered the interstate’s westbound lanes.

A 1996 Ford pickup truck, driven by Corbin Rayborn, 66, of Steinhatchee, Fla., veered to the right to try to avoid hitting Mitchell, but she hit his truck head-on. After impact, Calato said, the Explorer overturned, ejecting the child, before coming to rest upside down on the guard rail.

Rayborn’s car rotated and hit the rear of another Ford pickup, driven by Yesnia Arizmendi, 34, of Louisville, Ky.

Conway, Arizmendi and Arizmendi’s three passengers, all of whom were wearing seatbelts, did not get hurt in the accident, Calato said.

Rayborn, who also was wearing a seatbelt, was transported to Lakeview Regional Hospital with moderate injuries.

Mitchell was taken to Louisiana Heart Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, state police said. She will be booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail upon her release to face charges of negligent homicide, negligent injuring and careless operation.

The child, whose name was not released until the family was notified, was also transported to Louisiana Heart Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Calato said. It was unknown whether the child was properly restrained, he said.

Chemical breath tests were given to Conway and Arizmendi and both resulted in .000 percent, state police said.

Blood was drawn from Rayborn and Mitchell and submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis, Calato said.