Picayune man dies in La. traffic mishap

Published 3:14 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Picayune, Miss., man was pronounced dead here over the weekend following a traffic mishap in St. Tammany Parish, a Louisiana State Police spokesperson said.

Dead is Justin Lepine, 23, who was pronounced dead by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s office from injuries sustained in an automobile accident about 10:25 p.m. on Saturday at the Interstate10 overpass and U.S. 190, said Louisiana State Police Public Affairs Officer Nick Manale with Troop L.

Authorities investigating the accident said that Lepine was wearing his safety belt. He was transported to the Ochsner NorthShore Medical Center with serious injuries.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

A person driving another vehicle involved in the accident, Sue Celestin, 22, of New Orleans, sustained minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Slidell Memorial Hospital.

Celestin also was wearing a seatbelt, authorities said. Blood samples from both Lepine and Celestin were obtained and sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis, said information released by the Louisiana State police.

Authorities said the accident occurred when “for some unknown reasons” the 2009 Smart SRS car driven by Lepine drifted to the left, hitting the eastbound guardrail on the U.S. 190 I-10 overpass. Lepine was traveling eastbound on I-10, authorities said.

After colliding with the eastbound guardrail, Lepine’s vehicle continued to travel east on the left shoulder for about 125 feet before crossing the median and striking the westbound lane’s guardrail, Louisiana authorities said.

Impacting the westbound guardrail caused the vehicle driven by Lepine to flip several times, and it came to rest in the westbound lanes of I-10, authorities said.

As the vehicle driven by Lepine came to wrest, it was struck by a 2011 Hyundai SUV, traveling westbound on I-10, driven by Celestin.

Authorities are still investigating the accident, and at press time, funeral arrangements for Lepine were not complete.