Impaired Driver Arrested After Head-On Crash Kills Raceland Man in LaPlace

Published 8:14 am Wednesday, October 12, 2022

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LaPlace – On October 11, 2022, just after 5:00 p.m., Troopers with Louisiana State Police Troop B responded to a two-vehicle crash on US 61 near Jackson Avenue in LaPlace. This crash ultimately claimed the life of 71-year-old Earl Eschete of Raceland.

The initial investigation revealed that Eschete was driving a 2000 Ford F-150 south on US 61 near Jackson Avenue. At the same time, 23-year-old Gasper Orduna of Alvin, TX, was driving a 2019 Ford F-250 north on US 61 near Jackson Avenue. For reasons still under investigation, the F-250 crossed the center line, entered the southbound lane and collided head on with the F-150.

Eschete suffered life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital where he later died. A passenger in Eschete’s vehicle suffered moderate injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Orduna and a passenger in his vehicle were uninjured. Restraint use for all occupants is unknown at this time.

During the on scene investigation, Orduna displayed signs of impairment and provided a breath sample which indicated a Blood Alcohol Concentration over the legal limit. Orduna was arrested and booked into the St. John Parish Jail for the following charges: Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Negligent Injuring, DWI (1st Offense), Reckless Operation and Driving the wrong way on divided highways.

Louisiana State Police would like to remind all motorists that if you feel differently, you drive differently. Alcohol, prescription medication, and other drugs have many effects on the body that negatively affect driving skills. These drugs can impair visual ability, alter the sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills needed to operate a motor vehicle, and decrease reaction times. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and designate a sober driver. Not doing so can have deadly consequences.