PRAIRIEVILLE, La. (WAFB) - “Dead Man’s Curve” is a small section of Highway 42 just outside of Prairieville, Louisiana.
Over the years, multiple people have been killed at the s-curve and more have wrecked there.
One of those who lost her life on that stretch of road is 18-year-old Mandy Acosta. She was driving her cousin, Brett Leggette,13 and his friend Brett Frederic,13, to rent a movie when her car hydroplaned in the curve. She lost control of her vehicle that hit another car.
“I got to my sister’s house, they told me, her daughter, my niece came out of the house and said, ‘Oh Loretta, mom isn’t here,’” said Loretta Templet, Mandy’s mom. “She went to check on the kids, she got a call that they were in a little fender bender.”
"Found out it wasn't so,” she said. “That they were all killed."
In the following years, Templet has fought to get the road changed.
"I knew I couldn't bring Mandy, Brett, and Brett back so from day one all I ever wanted to do was break this road up,” She said. “Stop, get attention, do something to where another life wasn't lost."
She said she knew her daughter, nephew, and his friend were looking out over the project when three skunks cross the road not too long ago.
“Mandy loved the smell of skunks from when she was little and last month on August 20th, the 25th anniversary, I was going down my road by my house, no traffic, which was unusual, and three little skunks were playing on the road,” Loretta said. “Those three skunks stopped in front of my car and let me take a picture. It’s my sign that they are proud of what we’re doing.”
After 25 years of fighting, she has reached a major milestone in her fight. On Wednesday, she was invited to help construction crews rip up the old, two-lane highway to make room for the new, four-lane, divided highway that will take its place.
“I’m going to put her boots on today and I’m going to climb in that piece of equipment and I’m going to tell them this is for y’all, and I know they’re going to have the biggest smile on their faces as they always did when they were alive,” Templet said.
Slowly making her way down Highway 42, Loretta got her revenge on the road.
When she was done, crews gave her a plastic cup filled with the crumpled up pieces of road. A reminder of the road, and how far she has come since the tragedy.
Mandy, Brett, and Brett, this is for y'all and anybody else that has had any tragedy on this road,” she said. “This is for y'all."
Despite this milestone, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has a long way to go before the construction is completed. A spokesman said the goal is to have everything completed by the end of 2020.