2 die in weekend accidents

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 1999

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / November 24, 1999

LAPLACE – Two weekend accidents involving vehicles resulted in the deaths of a 17-year old LaPlace woman and a 20-year old Reserve man.

In the second accident, a woman from Norco has been charged with vehicular homicide, and Louisiana State Police say she had a blood alcohol level of over 0.1.The first fatality occurred around 9 p.m. on Friday at the corner of AirlineHighway and Rosenwald Street in Reserve. According to state police, 17-year old Michelle Lynn Tassara of LaPlace and her friend, 16-year old Ursula Jacob of St. Rose, was driving northbound on Rosenwald Street. State police said that as Tassara approached Airline Highway, she tried to make a right turn onto the highway without stopping. The green 1994 FordMustang she was driving slid across the south-bound lanes of Airline Highway, striking the concrete median. The car jumped the median andcontinued across the northbound lanes of Airline Highway and into a ditch, where it flipped over and landed upside down on the side of the road.

Tassara was pronounced dead on the scene by St. John Parish AssistantCoroner Michael D. Morris. Jacob was ejected from the car when it flippedover, and she was transported to River Parishes Hospital, where she was treated for moderate injuries and released.

State police are still investigating the accident.

The second highway fatality occurred early Sunday around 3 a.m. near theintersection of Airline Highway and Joubert Street on the western edge of LaPlace. Louisiana State Police said 26-year old Bret Richard Beadle ofReserve was standing on the side of the Airline Highway having a conversation with a woman in a Ford Explorer.

At the same time a 1998 Ford Mustang, driven by Helena M. Duhon, 20, 70Mary St., Norco, was pulling out of a parking lot onto Airline Highwayfurther down the road. She turned in the wrong direction and startedheading southbound on Airline against northbound traffic. Realizing hermistake, Duhon made a U-turn in the middle of Airline Highway, according to State Police.

Authorities said Brandon Clark, 19 of Garyville, was driving southbound on Airline with three of his friends when he spotted the Mustang making the U-turn. Clark quickly switched from the left to the right lane in orderto avoid hitting Duhon. However, as Clark was passing up the Mustang,Duhon suddenly went from the left lane to the right, hitting Clark’s Mazda on the left front fender. The collision pushed Clark’s car toward the FordExplorer and, out of control, the Mazda struck Beadle and the left side of the Explorer.

Duhon’s car went into a parking lot where it hit an unoccupied Toyota, went on a few more feet and stopped.

Duhon was unhurt in the accident. Clark and his three passengers, all teen-agers from Reserve and LaPlace, were injured.

Clark, his passengers and Beadle were taken to River Parishes Hospital, and Beadle was pronounced dead by Dr. Richard Roberts. Clark and hispassengers were treated and released.

Duhon was given a breathalyzer test and found to have a blood alcohol level of over 0.1. In Louisiana, a person is considered drunk if they have ablood-alcohol level of 0.10 or over.Duhon was arrested and taken to the St. John Parish jail, where she wascharged with vehicular homicide, four counts of vehicular negligent injury, underage driving while under the influence and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

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