Pedestrian Killed in Hit-and-Run Crash in St. Martin Parish

Published 7:12 am Monday, September 26, 2022

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St. Martin Parish – Shortly before 7:30 a.m., on September 25, 2022, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop I began investigating a hit-and-run crash involving a pedestrian that occurred on Louisiana Highway 96 westbound near Capritto Forty Arpent Rd in St. Martin Parish. The crash claimed the life of 49-year-old Chester J. Thibeaux of Lafayette.
The initial investigation by State Police revealed that Thibeaux was walking westbound on LA 96 when he was struck from behind by an unknown vehicle. After the collision, the unknown vehicle fled the scene. Investigators determined the unknown vehicle was a dark sedan and had damage to the right front area of the vehicle.
At approximately 9:45 a.m. this morning, Troopers were notified the driver was at the St. Martinville Police station. The driver, James Celestine, admitted to striking something in the roadway while driving a 2014 Nissan Maxima. He was arrested on the following charges: LA RS 14:100 hit-and-run, 32:58 careless operation, and 32:415 driving under suspension.
Blood evidence was collected and submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis and this crash remains under investigation.
Troop I has investigated 38 fatal crashes resulting in 44 deaths in 2022.