On Saturday night, a crash involving two vehicles killed a young man and seriously injured a young woman, both from Fort Polk.

Troopers responded to the crash around 9:50 p.m., which occurred on LA Hwy 8, west of Leesville.  The crash involved a 2005 Ford Expedition, driven by Omar Rendon (O/M 38 yoa) of Leesville and a 2013 Nissan Altima, driven by a female (O/F 22 yoa). 

The female driver, of the Nissan Altima, is identified as Celeste M. Marquez.  Her deceased male passenger is identified as Santiago Marquez

The Ford was westbound on LA Hwy 8 when Rendon lost control and crossed the centerline.  This action resulted in the Ford colliding head-on with the eastbound Nissan.  After the initial collision occurred, both vehicles became disabled in the roadway and were later struck by two other vehicles, resulting in separate crashes. 

Rendon was wearing his seat belt and received minor injuries.  He was transported to Byrd Hospital for treatment.

Celeste Marquez was wearing her seat belt, but received serious injuries.  She was transported to Rapides Regional Trauma Center for treatment.  Her Santiago Marquez (O/M 22 yoa) was wearing his seat belt, but was pronounced dead.  The exact identities of the driver and passenger are being withheld until notification to the next of kin is made.

Routine toxicology tests are pending.  The crash remains under investigation.

While not all crashes are survivable, seat belts can greatly decrease the occupant’s chance of death and will greatly reduce the extent of injury.

Although the exact cause of the crash remains under investigation, Troopers would like to remind the public of the following:  inattentive and distracted driving is dangerous and is a leading cause of crashes in our state. It is important for motorists to pay attention to what is going on outside of the vehicle they are driving. More information on distracted driving may be found online at the federal government’s official distracted driving website, www.distraction.gov.

In 2018, Troop E has investigated 43 fatal crashes resulting in 47 deaths.