A Louisiana family is mourning the death of three siblings who died in a Friday night wreck that also killed a Georgia man driving the wrong way on a rural interstate.
Louisiana state troopers say a pickup truck driven by John Lundy of Dallas, Georgia, hit an SUV with five people inside on Interstate 49 near Whiteville in northern St. Landry Parish.
Killed were 20-year-old Lindy Rae Simmons, 14-year-old Kamryn Simmons, and 16-year-old Christopher Simmons, all of Jeanerette. Lundy also died.
Billy M. Lee of Terrell, Texas, died in a separate crash on I-49 in Avoyelles Parish Friday night in the aftermath of the one involving the Simmons family. The 86-year-old man crashed into a stationary police vehicle that was diverting traffic from the interstate north of the wreck.
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Katie Simmons DeRouen told The Advocate that three of the victims of the first crash were younger siblings. She said her mother, Dawn Simmons, was critically injured and hospitalized in Lafayette. She said another teen, the girlfriend of Christopher Simmons, was also critically injured.
DeRouen said she is the second oldest of nine brothers and sisters. She said her relatives were driving home from a basketball game in Monroe in which her brother had played for Acadiana Christian School.
"Losing one would have been tragic," DeRouen said. "There are no words to describe losing all three babies of the family. We all have their gifts wrapped under the tree."
Troopers say Lundy was driving the wrong way in the northbound lanes. Toxicology results are pending and the crash remains under investigation.
DeRouen sought donations online to pay for medical care and had raised more than $400,000 as of Monday evening from more than 8,000 donors.
She said she had to drive to separate hospitals in Opelousas and Bunkie to identify the bodies of Kamryn and Christopher Simmons. DeRouen said she was told Lindy Simmons, who was driving, died before emergency workers could extract her from the SUV.
"We went from our `big family of nine kids' to six kids in the blink of an eye," DeRouen said. "I don't know how we will ever move on or recover from this."
DeRouen said that her mother has been asking about the condition of her three younger children, but will not be told of their deaths until she leaves the hospital's ICU.