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State Police: Surviving driver at fault in fatal St. James wreck

VACHERIE — A local driver has been deemed at fault, according to Louisiana State Police, for initiating a late night, head-on collision that resulted in the death of a St. James Parish woman.

Trooper Jesse LaGrange said initial crash response investigation Tuesday determined 59-year-old Rickie Steib’s actions caused the crash that lead to the death of Marie Joseph, 55, of Vacherie, noting authorities would not issue citations or charges until the complete investigation and lab results are complete.

According to LaGrange, speed is not suspected as a wreck factor.

The crash occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on Louisiana 18 near Hubble Lane in Vacherie.

The preliminary investigation revealed Steib, of Vacherie, was traveling east on Louisiana 18 in a Lincoln Mark LT pick-up. Joseph was traveling west on the same road in a Nissan Altima.

“For unknown reasons, Steib crossed the center line and struck Joseph head-on,” a release from LaGrange said. “Steib was not wearing his seat belt and he suffered moderate injuries.”

Acadian Ambulance Service took Steib to University Medical Center in New Orleans.

Police said Joseph was also not wearing a seat belt and suffered critical injuries.

She died shortly after being taken to a local hospital.

Impairment is unknown as a factor in the crash, according to authorities, who noted a blood sample from Steib was obtained and a toxicology report is pending through the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.

A standard toxicology report is pending on the part of Joseph through the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office.