Troopers: 3 dead in Ascension Parish crash after car splits in half and lands in bayou

Airline Highway at Pond Road in Sorrento (Source: Viewer)
Airline Highway at Pond Road in Sorrento (Source: Viewer)

SORRENTO, LA (WAFB) - Two men and a woman were killed in a crash on US 61 (Airline Hwy.) near LA 22 (John Leblanc Blvd.) in Ascension Parish, according to Louisiana State Police.

Troopers identified the victims as Tomas Jones, 23, Austin Kiernan, 22, and Sydney Persac, 19. Troopers added all three are from St. Amant.

"He was kind-hearted person, big soul. He's a good person," said Emily Theriot, one of Kiernan's family members.

Theriot came to the crash site near Pond Rd. Friday to set up a makeshift memorial. She pounded three crosses – one for each victim – into the ground along the roadway.

She noted Kiernan lived life to the fullest and had a fantastic sense of humor.

"These were young kids, 23, 22, and 19 years old, coming home from living life -- and I think a lot of people take this for granted," said Theriot.

She was part of a search party of family members that set out to find the trio Thursday night. Jonaes, Kiernan, and Persac were in New Orleans and were reportedly traveling north on Airline Hwy. when the wreck occurred.

They discovered the crash site late Thursday after Kiernan's brother tracked Kiernan's cell phone, leading them to the location.

Senior Tpr. Bryan Lee with LSP says the crash may have occurred early Thursday morning.

It's not yet known what caused the car to go off the highway, though Lee suggests the car may have been speeding.

The car went airborne after hitting the embankment and slammed into a tree, which caused the car to split in half. The vehicle then landed in the bayou, according to Lee.

Investigators say they don't know if the people inside the car were wearing seat belts, but all three of them were found outside of it. All three victims were pronounced dead at the scene by the Ascension Parish Coroner's Office.

According to Lee, troopers have not yet determined who was driving the car at the time of the crash. The cause of the wreck is still being investigated.

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