KLFY-TV reported that the Democrat mayor in a small Louisiana town, who was running for reelection in November, was killed in a car accident just hours before polls close.
According to the Louisiana State Police Melville Mayor Velma Da. Hendrix, 84 died in a crash on U.S. 190 close to Port Barre. This is a town in St. Landry Parish, 33 miles northeast of Lafayette.
According to authorities, the collision involved two vehicles. It occurred just before 2:20 p.m.
Melville, also known as the “Catfish Capital of the World”, was elected Hendrix’s first female candidate in 2018. She received 70% of the vote. Sheila “Sam” Londerno, Caretta Robertson, and Caretta Robinson were her opponents in Tuesday’s reelection race.
According to Louisiana secretary-of-state records, Hendrix was previously a member of Melville’s board for aldermen in the mid-1990s and early 2000s right before being elected to the mayoral post.
Police report that a 2008 Acura RDX and a 2015 Ram 2500 pickup truck were collided by Michael Cook from Columbia, Louisiana.
Cook was traveling south on LA 741, while the Acura was going west on U.S. 191. Cook, according to authorities, failed to yield when he merge over both westbound lanes.
Cook’s car struck the Acura’s passenger side, and Hendrix was in the rear passenger-side chair. KPEL reported Hendrix wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
The driver, the three other passengers, and the Acura’s owner were all transported to local hospitals with moderate to serious injuries. According to the St. Landry Parish coroner, Hendrix was killed in the accident.
Cook was not in danger despite not being wearing a seatbelt, according to authorities. Cook was not found to be impaired by the police but was cited for failing to yield at a stop sign.
Investigations into the crash are ongoing.
Jessie Bellard, president of St. Landry Parish, stated that “they’re just shocked” when she spoke to people from the area. “It’s tragic. “The community is small and mourns the loss of its mayor.
Londerno will be declared the winner with 43% of the votes after 100% reporting. The incumbent Mayor Hendrix received about 17% of the vote.
Charles Jagneaux, St. Landry Parish Clerk to Court, stated that Hendrix died before the polling places were closed. Therefore, candidates will not be eligible for the election. Jagneaux stated that a new mayoral vote would be held in December if another candidate qualifies before Monday. Londerno will be elected mayor of Melville if there is no other candidate.