GRAY — Three people were killed this morning in a high-speed crash on La. 24 that sent two vehicles careening into trees and a house, according to State Police.
Drivers Robert Short, 24, of Gibson, Raymond Bourg, 21, of Houma, and passenger Lindsey Fontenot, 25, of Gray, were pronounced dead at the scene, said trooper Bryan Zeringue, a spokesman for State Police Troop C.
Short and Bourg collided just before 2:30 a.m. at La. 24 and the Rod Bridge. Witnesses told troopers Short was driving south in his 1998 Ford Expedition and tailing Bourg, who drove a 2007 Toyota Tacoma with Fontenot riding in the front passenger seat, Zeringue said.
The witnesses said both appeared to be driving faster than the area’s 50 mph limit, he said.
Short tried to enter the right lane and then returned to the left lane, witnesses told troopers. Short clipped the rear passenger side of Bourg’s truck, causing both vehicles to lose control and leave the road to the left.
Bourg hit two trees and came to rest on the southern side of the Rod Bridge, Zeringue said. Fontenot, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected.
Short’s vehicle continued through a fence, hitting a tree and house before stopping, Zeringue said. The Expedition struck the house with such force that it left a hole in the brick exterior. It also damaged the house’s eave, leaving debris from the car on the roof.
The occupants of the house left while troopers were investigating.
Both Short and Bourg wore seat belts, Zeringue said. Troopers are awaiting blood test results from the Terrebonne Parish Coroner’s Office to determine whether the drivers were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Residents emerged from their homes after hearing the collision.
Keith Tucker, 19, found a bumper from one of the vehicles in his yard next to a tree. The collision had shorn the trunk of bark and sent debris onto his roof. One piece broke a window of his car, which was parked in the driveway.
They had to be flying,” Tucker said.
Tucker said a man stopped and yelled for him to call 911. The man smelled of alcohol and left as police arrived, he said.
Several residents thought the drivers had been drag racing. Leonard Bernard, whose home sits directly in front of where the crash occurred, said he frequently hears the speeding cars. He was preparing for bed when he heard a series of collisions outside.
“I knew someone had gotten hurt bad with all that noise,” he said.
Zeringue said investigators have no information confirming that the drivers were racing.
Police don’t yet know whether Bourg and Short knew each other, where they were coming from or where they were headed.