April 1, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck
The lives of many people changed Saturday on Interstate-10 at mile marker 49 near Lacassine. Louisiana State Police say 48-year-old Michael Wayne Jackson of Lafayette was heading west bound when he ran off the road. In an attempt to get back on the roadway, Jackson struck another car taking both vehicles through the median into oncoming eastbound traffic. Trucker Cathy Wyatt and her husband were en route to make a delivery in Portland, Maine.
"The drunk driver hit them head on, they then went into the right side of the ditch, the load came through the trailer, knocked the truck -- the sleeper and the motor off the truck and threw my mom out of the truck and killed her," said Wyatt's son Mike McFarlin.
Also hit was another 18-wheeler and two other passenger vehicles. Several people were injured, 51-year-old Wyatt pronounced dead at the scene from a broken neck. According to McFarlin, his mother did not even have time to react.
"My brother-in-law was in another truck, an 18-wheeler, just ahead of them and he seen everything happen in the mirror as they yelled out over the CB radio 'They're coming across at us,' and they hit them," said McFarlin.
Wyatt had been driving big rigs for more than five years. By all accounts she liked her work and life on the road.
"I worried about her all the time," said McFarlin, "But she enjoyed it, she enjoyed talking to people on the CB's, helping people. She was just a character, she was a good person."
McFarlin says his mother and others like her, who are out on the road every day should not have to worry about drunk drivers. "They're not just drivers. It's people, this is their living," said McFarlin. "I mean they took someone who really meant a lot to us out of this world. I mean you just can't give that back."
As Wyatt's family prepares to lay her to rest, they know she's in a better place looking over them and watching out for fellow truckers.
"This was a good friend, a mom, she loved her grand kids she would do anything for her grand kids," said McFarlin. "I just want everybody to know that a very good woman died out there."
Cathy Wyatt was a resident of Edinburg, Texas. She leaves behind a son, daughter and eight grandchildren. Her husband riding with her in the truck, suffered some internal bleeding but was treated at a local hospital and released Sunday morning. There is still no word yet on the condition of the other victims in this crash.