Wrecks claim three lives

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 1999

ERIK SANZENBACH and LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / December 29, 1999

RESERVE – Three people died as a result of two separate auto accidents during Christmas weekend.

In the first, a Christmas Eve accident claimed the lives of two Garyville men who were speeding down River Road in Reserve.

Trooper William Pike, of Louisiana State Police Troop B, reported that at 11:42 p.m. 19-year-old Nathan M. Lee Jr., 362 Fig St., Garyville, and hispassenger, Orrin Barney, 18, 217 Sherman Walker, Garyville, were headed westbound on Louisiana Highway 44 in Reserve in Lee’s 1999 Ford Escort.

Pike said the car was traveling between 65 and 75 mph in a 35-mph zone.

When the car approached the intersection of West 19th, Pike said, it swerved off to the right and struck a utility pole. Neither Lee nor Barneywere wearing seat belts, but the airbags did deploy.

After police and firefighters extricated the men from the vehicle they were taken to River Parishes Hospital, where Lee was pronounced dead at 2 a.m.Barney, who suffered severe head injuries, was airlifted by helicopter to the Medical Center of Louisiana in New Orleans. Jerry Romig, spokesmanfor the hospital, said Barney passed away from his injuries on Sunday at 2 p.m.In a separate incident, a Paradis man was killed and two others injured in a two-car accident Sunday evening near Raceland.

Herman Hill, 42, of Paradis, died after the car in which he was a passenger flipped and slid into a drainage ditch following a collision.

Trooper Bryan Zeringue of Louisiana State Police Troop C reported that a westbound 1984 Ford LTD, driven by Wallis E. Rooze, 62, of Kenner, wasattempting to turn around at Louisiana Highway 182 at the intersection of Louisiana Highway 307 on the side of Raceland nearest Des Allemands.

Instead, Rooze pulled into the path of an eastbound 1996 Nissan Ultima, occupied by driver Daniel Douglas, 34, of Killona, and Hill.

After the two cars struck, Zeringue related, the Nissan slid in the eastbound drainage ditch and flipped, partially throwing Hill from the vehicle. Zeringue added that Rooze and Douglas both wore seat belts, butHill did not.

Hill was pronounced dead at the scene. Douglas was transported withsevere injuries to St. Anne Hospital in Raceland and later to LeonardChabert Memorial Hospital in Houma. Rooze was transported with severeinjuries to Terrebonne Medical Center in Houma, treated for his injuries and released.

No charges have yet been filed, Zeringue added, but an investigation is continuing. It is not known if alcohol was a factor in the accident.

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