La. accident injures county resident

Published 8:05 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A three vehicle accident on Interstate 59 in Louisiana just south of the Mississippi state line Sunday afternoon took the life of a Pearl River, La., resident and injured a resident of Pearl River County.

On Sunday at about 4:55 p.m. a 2001 Chevy pick-up truck driven by Johnnie L. Bleker, 17, of Slidell, La., was southbound on I-59 when he over corrected, lost control of the vehicle and traveled into the median, according to a press release from Louisiana State Police Troop L.

After the truck traveled into the median, it rotated counter-clockwise and began to flip. As it continued to overturn it entered into the northbound lane of I-59. Bleker was ejected during the vehicle rollover since he was not wearing his seatbelt, the release states. When the overturning truck entered into the northbound lane it struck an oncoming 2006 Honda Accord, driven by Lisa W. Cahill, 21, of Picayune.

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The truck came to rest off the roadway, but debris left by the truck was hit by a 2003 Nissan Xterra driven by Samantha Vandrell, 38, of Carriere. The Accord came to rest in the left northbound lane while the Xterra came to rest on the right north bound shoulder of the interstate.

Four passengers were in Bleker’s pickup truck at the time of the accident, two 16 year-old males; who were transported to Slidell Memorial by ambulance for minor injuries, a 15 year-old female; who was transported to NorthShore Hospital and Kathryn Lesley, 16, of Pearl River who was declared dead on scene due to injuries sustained in the crash.

Cahill was transported to Slidell Memorial for treatment of minor injuries. Alcohol and drugs are not suspected, however blood was taken for testing. Vendrell was not injured in the crash and breath tests results indicated a blood alcohol level of 0.000 percent, according to the release.

Bleker was taken to Slidell Memorial hospital by ambulance for treatment of moderate injuries. When he is released from the hospital, he will be charged and booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail for reckless operation of a vehicle and negligent homicide, the release states. Alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be involved in the accident, however blood was taken for analysis.