Candlelight vigil planned for victims of deadly crash involving school bus

PATTERSON, LA (WAFB) -

Four people, including three children, were killed after they were ejected when the SUV they were in collided with a school bus Saturday and a vigil is planned for 5:30 p.m. tonight.

The vigil will be held in the field behind Patterson Junior High School in Patterson, LA at 5:30 p.m. Patterson is about 74 miles south of Baton Rouge and about 61 miles southeast of Lafayette, LA.

The
crash happened on US 90 near LA 317 in Centerville around noon. The
victims who died were identified as Ladonna Cheatham, 36; Marcus
Cheatham, 16; Dwayne Escort, 14; and Destiny Cheatham, 6. They were
pronounced dead at the scene by the St. Mary Parish coroner.

Ladonna
Cheatham, who was driving a 2004 Kia Sorrento, was from Patterson.
Louisiana State Police did not specify where the younger victims were
from. Investigators said none of them had on seatbelts and they were all
thrown from the vehicle.

A fifth
person in the vehicle, Mark Cheatham, 17, was properly restrained and
suffered moderate injuries in the crash. He remains hospitalized.

Tpr.
Stephen Hammons said the school bus was carrying 30 members of the
Lafayette High School baseball team and six adults, including the
driver. He reported “the left rear tire on Cheatham’s vehicle failed”
and veered off the left side of the road, crossed the median and slammed
into the school bus.

One of the adults on the bus, Cody
Ortego, 23, of Lafayette, was taken to the hospital with moderate
injuries. Seven students went to the hospital with minor injuries. 

Authorities
said the reason for the tire failure is still under investigation.
Officials will perform routine toxicology tests to determine whether
impairment was a factor in the crash. Blood samples were sent to the
Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.

The crash remains under investigation.

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