May 31, 2014 1:37 AM by Dave Fields

Fifth fatality now claimed in Eunice head-on crash was Iraq veteran

KATC now has learned that a fifth person has died in a fatal head-on collision south of Eunice Friday afternoon.

Family members say that Joshua Lejeune, an Opelousas native and a 24-year-old former soldier in Iraq, was the rear, driver's side passenger in the 2005 Honda Civic that inexplicably crossed the centerline on LA 13 near Perchville Road just prior to 2:30 p.m., striking a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by 48-year-old Mamou resident Chaman Richardson.

Family members indicate that Lejeune, who was not restrained by a safety belt, suffered internal injuries and died about five hours after the accident while hospitalized at Lafayette General Medical Center, where Lejeune had been air-lifted in critical condition. According to his family, Lejeune briefly was conscious at the scene, but only was able to disclose a phone number to first responders and wasn't able to provide an explanation for how the accident may have occurred.

Lejeune's uncle tells KATC that his nephew, a former resident of Port Barre, had returned only a couple of years ago from service overseas with the National Guard.

None of the other occupants of the Civic survived the crash. The driver, Jacob Courville, 22, of Eunice was the only person in the Civic wearing a safety belt. Courville and the two passenger-side victims in the Civic, an unidentified male and an unidentified female, were all pronounced dead at the scene by the Acadia Parish Coroner.

Richardson's passenger in the Tahoe, Jamie Prejean, 29, of Mamou also was not restrained and was pronounced dead at the scene. Richardson was treated at a hospital for moderate injuries.

Although the crash remains under investigation, routine toxicology samples were taken for analysis by the State Police Crime Lab.


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