PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - An afternoon of family and friendship turned into evening of inconsolable grief after two children were killed while fishing after a vehicle went off the road Tuesday afternoon.
The victims were identified as Sarai Lanus, 9, of Geismar, and her brother, Daylon, 6. The children both attended Dutchtown Primary.
Louisiana State Police said it happened on Bluff Road in Prairieville around 3:30 p.m. Bluff Road (LA 928) runs between Old Perkins Road and LA 74.
According to troopers, what began with five people fishing in a small bayou ended with the tragic deaths of two young siblings. As the large SUV was pulled from a tree by flatbed truck, fishing poles continued to lie on the ground just a few feet away. The sight served as a reminder of a horrific accident just hours before.
"There were three adult males and two children," said TFC Jared Sandifer with LSP. "Those adult males were injured and transported from the scene and those children were killed as a result of this crash."
Investigators said the kids were fishing down an embankment along Bluff Road with their father and two family friends when a 2004 Nissan Armada driven by Shawnette Taylor, 47, of Prairieville, veered off the roadway and hit the group.
"The driver was taken by state troopers to determine if they were impaired or not and that's just standard practice whenever we work a fatal crash," Sandifer explained. "So right now, no charges have been filed and this is still an active investigation and our troopers and sheriff's department are still out here working the scene."
According to troopers the three adults were taken to Our Lady of the L Hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening. The father and another male friend suffered a broken leg.
Sandifer urged drivers to be on alert whenever they are behind the wheel.
"Very tragic incident, something as state troopers we never want to see. We never want to work this. We just ask people keep that in mind, just be extremely safe on the roads, especially during the summer," he said.
Troopers added they are still investigating why Taylor's SUV ran off the road. A sample of her blood was sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. As Sandifer stated, that procedure is done for all deadly wrecks. No charges have been filed.
Several neighbors said the particular stretch of Bluff Road where the crash happened is a very popular fishing spot.
A memorial fund has been set up to help cover funeral expenses.