BAYOU BLUE, La. - Four Vandebilt High School students returning from the LSU football game Saturday night died after their pickup truck ran off of the road and landed upside down in a bayou, according to Louisiana State Police.
The four victims included the football team’s starting quarterback T.J. Cantrelle, along with Ian Haydel, Megan Hitt and Gabrielle Hebert. All of the victims were 17 years old except for Haydel, who was 15. State Police confirmed the identities.
According to State Police spokesman Bryan Zeringue, the four were traveling home late after the LSU game and one of the occupants of the truck texted their parents around 12:45 a.m. Sunday to say they would be home soon. When they had not shown up by 3 a.m., the parents began to conduct their own search.
Zeringue said a missing persons report was filed around 8 a.m. and that officers began backtracking the roads the students may have travelled.
A GPS signal from the cell phone of one of the teens was used to locate the pickup.
Zeringue said one officer found just the wheels of the vehicle sticking out of a bayou near La. 182 and La. 316 where the pickup had apparently gone off the road after striking a guardrail.
The incident occurred in Bayou Blue, a community between Houma and Raceland.
“For unknown reasons, the driver failed to negotiate a slight right bank curve and crossed the center line,” said Zeringue. “The car crossed the center line and went off the roadway on the eastbound lane, striking a guardrail for the bridge and going into the bayou. The car was fully submerged.”
According to a story on the Houma Courier web site, classmates gathered near the scene and said they were preparing for a prayer service at a private home.
The cause of the wreck is under investigation by Louisiana State Police Troop C.