Four people dead in crash involving school bus in St. Mary Parish

(Source: KATC)
(Source: KATC)

Following Release From Louisiana State Police:

St. Mary Parish- A crash involving a school bus and an SUV on US Highway 90 near LA Highway 317 has left four people dead and several people injured.

At 11:41 a.m., 36-year-old Ladonna Cheatham of Patterson was driving a 2004 Kia Sorrento west on US Highway 90.  A Lafayette Parish School Bus, driven by 40-year-old Amy Dore of Sunset, was traveling east on US Highway 90.  For reasons which remain under investigation, the left rear tire on Cheatham's vehicle failed.  Cheatham's vehicle traveled off the left side of the road, crossed the median and struck the school bus.

Cheatham was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle.  Three other occupants in her vehicle, 6-year-old Destiny Cheatham, 7-year-old Dwayne Escort and 16-year-old Marcus Cheatham were all unrestrained and were ejected from the vehicle.  All four were pronounced dead at the scene by the St. Mary Parish Coroner.  A fourth occupant in Cheatham's vehicle, 17-year-old Mark Chatham, was restrained and was transported to a local area hospital with moderate injuries.

Dore was wearing a seat belt and was not injured in the crash.  She was transporting 30 students and 5 adults on the bus.  One of the adults, 23-year-old Cody Ortego of Lafayette, sustained moderate injuries and was transported to a local area hospital.   Seven of the students on the bus, all of them teenagers, were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries.

It is unknown if impairment was a factor in this crash; however, routine toxicology samples were obtained and will be submitted to the State Police Crime Lab for analysis.

This crash remains under investigation.

Troopers remind drivers and occupants that the simplest thing they can do to minimize the risk of injury in a crash is to be properly restrained.  Proper restraint use allows crash forces to be spread out across the body.  While wearing a seat belt will not save you in every crash it will greatly reduce your risk of injury in most crashes.