Carriage drivers involved in collision on Shell Beach Drive speak out after crash

Carriage driver speaks out

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Authorities say a car hit a mule-drawn carriage traveling north on Shell Beach Drive causing it to go into oncoming traffic, striking another car.

Sergeant Jeff Keenum with Lake Charles Police said four people were taken to the hospital; the two passengers riding in the carriage and the drivers of the carriage, Garrett and Kaitlin Thibodeaux.

“It was scary," Kaitlin Thibodeaux said. "That was pretty much my only feeling. I was scared for everyone that was involved.”

Thibodeaux says it started out a normal carriage ride for her and her husband Garrett. She says they had slowed the carriage down for the passengers to take a picture when they were hit by a car.

“I just heard the big bang and I got jerked and kind of went black for a second," Kaitlin said. "And when I woke back up I was on the ground. I got up and I screamed for Garrett and he was still on the carriage getting drug. I was like, ‘I got to go get my husband’, but then I was like, ‘wait, my passengers.’ So, I turned around and my one of my passengers was on the ground. She had a busted head.”

Thibodeaux says she goes to school for nursing, so she checked her passengers before going over to the car and checking on the driver, while someone called 911.

“I got a severely sprained ankle, a severely sprained elbow, my calf muscle is torn and I have road rash on my side," Thibodeaux said. "I’m pretty sure I have a concussion and I have two black eyes. He has a severely sprained back. He can’t stand on his own. I can stand, but I can’t get around. I have to be helped and he has to be carried.”

She says she doesn’t know the current condition of the passengers.

Kaitlin Thibodeaux says she has been driving carriages for six years and this is the first time she knows of one being hit.

“Every carriage that we own is lit up like the Fourth of July," Thibodeaux said. "Everyone just needs to pay more attention and go the speed limit on that road.”

Thibodeaux said the mule involved in the incident only has a few cuts and bruises and that the carriage rides down Shell Beach will continue.

Sergeant Keenum says the driver of the car was issued a citation for careless operation.

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