LAPLACE, LA (WVUE) - The tragic death of a Laplace high school senior has officials in St. James Parish calling for change. Evan Simoneaux's car veered off a section of Airline Highway that's notorious for deadly accidents.
Simoneaux was a former altar boy who excelled on the soccer field at St. Charles Catholic High School. The 17-year-old was driving north on Airline Highway near Gramercy Sunday morning around 10 a.m., when for some reason, his Ford veered off the road and into the large canal alongside it. The St. James Fire Department responded, but couldn't save Simoneaux.
"There's no apparent reason at this time, it just veered off according to one or the witnesses in back of him," said St. James Parish President Tim Roussel.
Simoneaux died in a roadside canal that stretches for 8 miles with no guardrail. They've talked about guard rails or barriers along this stretch of Airline Highway for years, and St. James Parish says it's time for the state to step up.
"Certainly it's going to be made a priority of ours...it seriously needs to be addressed," said Roussel.
Word of Simoneaux's death has saddened students and faculty at his school, where grief counselors were on hand Monday. A large memorial Mass was held for him Sunday night.
Barriers have been put up along other sections of Airline Highway. Now St. James Parish says it's their turn.
"We will put that on the top of our agenda," said Roussel.
They hope in a tight economy money can be found somewhere to prevent more loss of life.
Funeral arrangements have been made. Public visitation will be held from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at St Joan of Arc Church in Laplace. It will continue Saturday morning, beginning at 9 a.m., with a funeral Mass scheduled for 11 a.m.