CENTREVILLE, La. — A blown-out tire may be to blame for a fatal crash Saturday that killed an adult and three children and injured several members of the Lafayette High School baseball team.
A Louisiana State Police report said that Ladonna Cheatham, 36, was driving a 2004 Kia Sorrento on U.S. Highway 90 about 11:41 am. when the left rear tire on her vehicle failed. The blowout caused the SUV to run off the left side of the road and cross the median, which put it in the path of a school bus carrying 30 members of the baseball team and five adults.
The head-on impact caused Ms. Cheatham, who was not wearing a seat belt, to be ejected from the vehicle. Three other children in the SUV were not wearing seat belts and were also thrown from the vehicle and killed. Authorities identified them as Destiny Cheatham, 6, Dwayne Escort, 7, and Marcus Cheatham, 16.
A fourth occupant, identified as 17-year-old Mark Cheatham, had been wearing a seatbelt and survived the crash. He was taken to a local hospital with injuries.
Six people on the bus were taken to local hospitals for treatment. Five of them, all teenagers, received minor injuries. One of the adults, a 23-year-old man, suffered moderate injuries and was airlifted to an area hospital. The driver of the bus, Amy Dore, was wearing a seat belt and was uninjured in the crash.
Police continue to investigate the crash, which occurred at the intersection of U.S. Highway 90 and Louisiana Highway 317 in St. Mary Parish. Toxicology samples were taken and submitted to the State Police Crime Lab for analysis in an effort to determine whether drugs or alcohol may have played a role in the collision.