Suspected drunk driver faces charges after passenger killed in single car crash

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - Authorities said a suspected drunk driver will be booked on vehicular homicide, DWI and other charges once he is released from the hospital after a crash that left a woman dead Tuesday night.

Louisiana State Police reported Tasha Nelson, 38, of Port Allen, was killed in a single vehicle wreck that happened on LA 415 south of US 190 in Port Allen just before 11 p.m.

Troopers said Dedrick Varise, 32, of Port Allen, was driving the car. It is believed he was impaired and speeding at the time of the crash. He faces charges of vehicular homicide, DWI (first offense), reckless operation, driving with a suspended license and no seat belt.

Tpr. Bryan Lee with LSP said the initial investigation showed Varise was driving a 2002 Nissan Altima northbound on LA 415 at a high rate of speed. He added Nelson and Dennis Vallery, 35, of Port Allen, were passengers in the car. Investigators think Nelson was in the back seat.

According to Lee, reports indicate Varise lost control while crossing Lafton overpass. Lee said the car went off the road, hit several mailboxes and then hit an embankment. He also said Nelson was thrown out of the car when it started to flip. Troopers reported Varise and Vallery ran away from the scene.

Lee said Nelson was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital where she was pronounced dead. He added deputies with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office later found Varise and Vallery. They were taken back to the scene of the crash. Deputies arrested Varise, but he had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

He will be booked into the West Baton Rouge Parish Prison on the above charges upon his release from the hospital.

A sample of Varise's blood was sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.

Troopers did not report filing charges against Vallery.

The investigation is ongoing.

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