Fatal accident hits so close to home’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 11, 2001


PAULINA – A 20-year-old St. James Parish woman died recently after her vehicle hydroplaned and crashed into a utility pole. According to authorities, Christie Melancon of Paulina was traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 61 by Interstate 10 near Gonzales around 4 p.m. Monday afternoon in Ascension Parish when she lost control of her 1999 Pontiac, causing her to leave the roadway to the right side where the automobile hit the pole and came to a stop. She was killed instantly and her body was later transported to Welsh Funeral Home, accident investigators said. Louisiana State Police Troop A investigated the scene, and the investigating trooper on the scene was Trooper Donny Guitreau. Enrolled at Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, Melancon was also a student employee at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Baton Rouge. A lifelong resident of Paulina, Melancon graduated from Lutcher High School in 1999 with honors. According to St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin, the Melancon family are good friends of his and are well-known in the community. “She was a very pleasant young lady,” he said. “She was very active in sports, 4-H. She was just a good person. “Everyone knew her and liked her.” Martin got a call from the State Police about the accident Monday night, and he met the sheriff’s office’s shift supervisor, along with Sgt. Craig Jewell of the State Police, at the Melancon residence to inform the family of what had happened. “I don’t know anything worse you can tell a family, especially parents,” said Martin. “It hit so close to home. She was so young and had so much to live for.” Martin said he spent a good deal of time with Melancon’s parents, Don and Irene, at their home in Paulina Monday night. “There is nothing more tragic than losing a child,” he said. Melancon’s funeral was held at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Paulina Thursday morning and interment followed at the St. Joseph Cemetery. The family asked in lieu of sending flowers that people make donations payable to Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. and send them in Melancon’s name. At the time of the accident, she was wearing her seat belt and alcohol was not a factor. The slick roads, caused by showers Monday, were a component, investigators said.