Prairieville Man arrested after passenger dies in crash

Ascension Crime Briefs

ST. AMANT – Shortly before 3 a.m. on May 20, 2016, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop A began investigating a single vehicle fatality crash on La. 429 (Weber City Road) at the intersection of La. 22 in Ascension Parish. The crash took the life of 49-year-old Dena Edmonston of French Settlement. It also resulted in the arrest of 27-year-old Jot Willeford of Prairieville for Vehicular Homicide.

The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as Willeford was traveling westbound on La. 429 in a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado. As Willeford entered the intersection of La. 429 and La. 22, he lost control of his vehicle and it began to overturn. The vehicle came to rest in a ditch on the east side of La. 22.

Edmonston was not restrained at the time of the crash and suffered fatal injuries.  A second passenger in the vehicle was also unrestrained and suffered serious injuries. Willeford was also unrestrained and was not injured. 

During the course of their investigation, Troopers determined that Willeford was impaired. He submitted to a chemical breath test and registered over three times the legal limit. Troopers arrested Willeford and he was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail for Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Negligent Injuring, No Seat Belt, and Operating a Vehicle with an Expired Driver’s License. 

Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists that impaired driving continues to be a major problem throughout Louisiana. Whether impaired through alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two, the consequences of driving while impaired remain the same.  Making good choices while in motor vehicles such as never driving while impaired, always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained, and avoiding all distractions can often mean the difference between life and death.