Update – Impaired Driver Arrested in Fatal Hit and Run St. Tammany Crash
Published 4:12 pm Sunday, July 25, 2021
Update – The bicyclist involved in the fatal crash was 66-year-old William Brunelle of Lacombe.
Lacombe – On Saturday, July 24, 2021, shortly after 8:15 PM, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a fatal crash on US 190 near North Tranquility Road in St. Tammany Parish. The crash claimed the life of a bicyclist. The identity of the deceased is being withheld pending proper notification to next of kin.
The initial investigation revealed that a bicyclist was traveling westbound on US 190. At the same time, a 2021 Kia K5, driven by Andre Damiens III of Lacombe, was traveling westbound on US 190. For reasons still under investigation, the Kia K5 struck the bicyclist. After impacting the bicyclist, Damiens fled the scene. During the investigation, Troopers identified Damiens as the hit and run driver.
The bicyclist was not wearing a helmet and sustained fatal injuries during the crash. The bicyclist was pronounced deceased on the scene. As part of the ongoing investigation, a toxicology sample was obtained from the deceased for analysis. After locating Damiens, Troopers arrested and transported Damiens to a nearby facility where he provided a breath sample that tested over the legal limit. After the breath test, Troopers booked Damiens into the St. Tammany Parish Jail for violating LRS 14:32.1 Vehicular Homicide, LRS 14:100 Hit and Run, and LRS 32:58 Careless Operation. This crash remains under investigation.
Time and time again, Troopers witness preventable motor vehicle crashes. Impairment and lack of seat belt usage are primary causes of crashes across the state of Louisiana. Louisiana State Police urge motorists to have a plan in place that includes a designated driver when consuming alcohol. Alcohol can impair visual ability, alter sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills, and decrease reaction times. Alcohol can begin to impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle after just one drink. Please choose to not drive impaired or ride with an impaired driver, and always buckle up.