Impairment suspected in crash that kills Donaldsonville child

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Shortly after 11 p.m. on April 3, troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop A began investigating a single vehicle fatal crash on LA Hwy 308 south of LA Hwy 945 in Ascension Parish. The crash took the life of a 7-year-old female and resulted in the arrest of her father, 25-year-old Devontae Sanders of Donaldsonville.

The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as Sanders was traveling southbound on LA Hwy 308 in a 2008 Toyota Camry with his three children (female juveniles ages 7, 4, and 3). As Sanders entered a left curve at a possible high rate of speed, the Camry ran off the roadway to the right. The vehicle then entered a ditch, struck a concrete culvert and overturned.

All three children were unrestrained at the time of the crash and sustained serious injuries. The 7-year-old and the 4-year-old were transported to Prevost Memorial Hospital in Donaldsonville for treatment. While there, the 7-year-old ultimately succumbed to her injuries. The 3-year-old was transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge for treatment. Devontae Sanders was also unrestrained at the time of the crash and sustained minor injuries. He refused medical treatment on scene.

Impairment is suspected to be a factor in the crash on the part of Devontae Sanders, and a toxicology sample was taken from him to be submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for further analysis. Troopers arrested Sanders and booked him into the Ascension Parish Detention Center for violating LRS 14:32.1 Vehicular Homicide, LRS 14:39.1 Vehicular Negligent Injuring (2 counts), LRS 14:99 Reckless Operation of a Vehicle, LRS 32:295 Unrestrained Child (3 counts), LRS 32:295.1 No Seatbelt, and LRS 32:300.5 Use of certain wireless telecommunications devices for text messaging and social networking prohibited. This crash remains under investigation.

Time and time again, Troopers witness preventable motor vehicle crashes such as this one. Whether by alcohol or narcotics, nearly half of the fatal crashes in Louisiana are caused by impaired drivers. Louisiana State Police urge motorists to have a plan in place that includes a designated driver when consuming alcohol. Furthermore, Troopers wish to remind motorists that child safety seats offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash. When properly installed and used, child safety seats can greatly reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury for children.

Contributed by La. State Police