New victim claimed in canal

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Staff Reporter

NORCO – Louisiana State Police are investigating a fatal accident on Airline Highway involving a Montz man who lost control of his car and drove into a roadside canal Saturday morning.

State Police Spokesman Joseph Piglia said Gene I. Fryoux, 39, was traveling at a high rate of speed in the northbound lanes of Airline Highway near Prospect Street when his 2000 Ford Mustang suddenly veered off the left side of the road.

After nearly crossing the raised median, Fryoux swerved back to the right, crossed both northbound lanes, and crashed into the canal on the right side of the highway.

Police said witnesses who saw Fryoux drive into the canal stopped to try and help, but the vehicle was completely submerged in the water by the time anyone reached the scene. Certain parts of the canal can be as much as 30 feet deep.

State police closed the right lane of the highway while troopers and a boat from the St. Charles SheriffÕs Office dredged the canal. Fryoux was pronounced dead on the scene, and no one else was in the vehicle during the accident.

Piglia said it was not clear if Fryoux was impaired at the time of the accident, but said speed is considered a factor in the crash. Senior Trooper Rick Meier is continuing his investigation.

The stretch of Airline Highway where the canal is situated has a history of dangerous accidents where vehicles become submerged in the water. Residents have pushed for a roadside barrier and have also asked state and federal highway officials to fill in the canal.