Crash involving 2 drunk drivers leads to death of passenger

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CALCASIEU PARISH, La. (LSP) - Louisiana State Police responded on April 13, just before midnight, to a serious injury crash involving two vehicles and two drunk drivers near Hwy 385 and Tank Farm Road, south of Lake Charles.

George Edward Broussard Jr., 53, of Bell City was driving a 2000 Ford Ranger on Hwy 385 when he failed to yield to oncoming traffic. He collided with Deidre Cole Ward, 37, of Lake Charles, who was driving a 2005 GMC Sierra pickup truck.

Broussard's vehicle was struck on the passenger side by Ward.

The front seat passenger in Broussard’s vehicle, Brett Davis Labove, 30, sustained life-threatening injuries. Broussard was also seriously injured. Both were transported to area hospitals for treatment.

Neither was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and Labove died several days later as a result of his injuries.

Ward, who was properly restrained, was transported to an area hospital to be examined for minor injuries. After being cleared by the hospital, she was transported to Troop D for processing.

Upon arrival at Troop D, Ward refused to provide a toxicology sample. Details of the arrest were furnished to an on-call judge who approved a “no refusal” search warrant that allowed Troopers to obtain blood samples from Ward without her consent. Ward also provided a breath sample revealing a blood alcohol content almost 2 ½ times the legal limit. Ward was charged with DWI third offense, driving under suspension, and open alcoholic container. She was booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center. Additional charges are possible.

Toxicology samples were obtained from both drivers and have been submitted for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.

At the time of the crash, Broussard was cited for DWI first offense, vehicular negligent injuring, failure to yield while turning, and no seat belt. Additional charges are possible.

Louisiana State Police will continue to arrest any motorist found to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To report impaired drivers, motorists are urged to dial *LSP (*577) or contact their local law enforcement agency.

Louisiana state law requires vehicle occupants to be properly restrained in all seating positions, day or night. Statistics show the chances of surviving a crash rise significantly when properly restrained but the decision not to wear a seat belt can have deadly consequences. Motorists are encouraged to make the smart choice and to always wear a seat belt.

Troop D has investigated 7 fatal crashes resulting in 8 deaths.

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