LOCAL

Ascension Parish school supporting Brusly families

Staff Report
Caroline Gill, 16, and Maggie Dunn, 17, died and Liam Dunn, Maggie's brother, was critically injured in Brusly on New Year's Eve after a police cruiser rammed their vehicle while pursuing a suspect in another vehicle.

The Ascension Catholic School community planned a dress down day to support the families of two Brusly teenagers killed and another critically injured in a New Year's Eve crash involving a police officer who was reportedly pursuing a suspect in a high-speed chase.

Caroline Gill, 16, and Maggie Dunn, 17, died and Liam Dunn, Maggie's brother, was critically injured in the crash in the West Baton Rouge Parish town.

According to a statement to sister publication USA TODAY, District Attorney Tony Clayton said Addis Police Officer David Cauthron was charged with two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent injuring.

The chase reportedly began in Baton Rouge, which is across the Mississippi River on the east bank, after 24-year-old Tyquel Zanders was accused of stealing his father's car, Clayton said. 

The pursuit reportedly reached speeds of nearly 110 miles per hour, Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate reported.

Brusly High School principal Walt Lemoine confirmed the students' deaths in a statement. Lemoine said a candlelight vigil was planned in their honor and counselors would be available for students.

"As we mourn the tragic deaths of Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill please keep their families, friends, and the BHS community in your thoughts and prayers," the Brusly High School cheerleading team said in a statement on Facebook. "Their enthusiasm and bright smiles will be missed more than can be imagined."

Ascension Catholic, which is located in Donaldsonville, will donate all proceeds from the dress down day to the Gill and Dunn families.

The USA TODAY and The Associated Press contributed to this report.