ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. — A Pope John Paul II High School student was killed in a crash with an 18-wheeler over the weekend according to State Police.
Troopers say, Christian Tullis, 16, died in a car accident shortly before 11:00 p.m. Saturday on Interstate 12 near LA Hwy 434 in St. Tammany Parish.
“The initial investigation revealed the crash occurred as Tullis was eastbound on Interstate 12 in a 2010 Nissan Titan. At the same time, a 2021 Freightliner 18-wheeler was also eastbound on Interstate 12 in front of the Nissan. For reasons still under investigation, the Nissan struck the rear of the Freightliner’s trailer,” says an LSP report.
Tullis is a Junior at Pope John Paul II and the son of PJP Volleyball Head Coach Danny Tullis.
He was returning home from the Cajundome in Lafayette when he got into the fatal crash as Catholic League Sports reports.
That night, the Cajundome was hosting the LHSAA State Volleyball Championship, where Pope John Paul II High School’s volleyball team was playing against Newman High School. His sister Ali Tullis and her volleyball team were playing their Division IV championship that same night as Nola.com reports. His father was also at the game but left early after hearing the news of his son's death.
"As a community, we are all mourning the loss of a beautiful young man, Christian Tullis. Christian was a faith-filled, joyful, and comedic friend, teammate, student, brother, and son," PJP II H.S. officials said in a social media post. His big smile was infectious and would light up any room he walked into. To know him was a blessing. We will always carry his kind and loving spirit with us every day. To the Tullis family, we love you and will be here every step of the way."
State police are still investigating what caused the crash. Both drivers were wearing their seat belts. Troopers say they do not suspect the driver of the semi-truck was impaired and voluntarily submitted to a breath test which they say showed no alcohol detected. A routine toxicology sample was collected from Tullis and submitted for analysis pending autopsy results.