St. Martin Parish – Shortly before 1:45 pm on May 19, 2019, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop I began investigating a fatal crash on LA Hwy 96 near the St. Martin/Lafayette Parish line. The crash took the life of 17-year-old Grace Gonsoulin of New Iberia, and injured multiple others.
The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as Gonsoulin was driving a 2015 Honda Accord westbound on LA Hwy 96. At the same time, 42-year-old Ramon Lopez-Alicea of Franklin was driving eastbound on LA Hwy 96 in a 1998 Dodge Ram. 25-year-old Jacoby George of St. Martinville was traveling behind the Dodge in a 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis. For unknown reasons, Gonsoulin crossed the double-yellow lines into the eastbound lane of travel. As a result, the Honda struck the eastbound Dodge, and was then struck by the Mercury.
Despite the fact that she was properly restrained, Gonsoulin sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash. She was pronounced deceased on scene by the St. Martin Parish Coroner’s Office. Impairment on her part is not suspected, but a routine toxicology sample was taken from her for analysis. Two passengers in her Accord sustained moderate to serious injuries.
Lopez-Alicea was properly restrained, but was transported from the scene to a local hospital with moderate injuries. Impairment on his part is not suspected, but standard toxicology results are pending. Four passengers in his Dodge sustained moderate to serious injuries. George was properly restrained and was uninjured. Impairment on his part was not a factor. This crash remains under investigation. No further information is available at this time.
Troopers wish to remind motorists that while not all crashes are survivable, statistics show that the chances of surviving a crash rise significantly when properly restrained. Making good choices while in motor vehicles such as never driving while impaired and always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained can often mean the difference between life and death.