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Louisiana Mayor Running For Re-Election Killed In Car Crash On Election Day

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A Louisiana Democrat mayor running for re-election was tragically killed in a vehicle crash on Election Day. State police said that Melville Mayor Velma D. Hendrix died in a two-vehicle accident near Port Barre, Louisiana.

Police said the suspect driving a Ram pickup truck was traveling south of LA 741 and failed to yield as he tried to cross the westbound lanes of US 190. The pickup truck hit the passenger side of an Acura SUV. Police said the driver of the SUV and three other passengers suffered moderate to critical injuries and were treated at local hospitals.

“The preliminary investigation revealed a 2015 Ram 2500 pickup, driven by Michael Cook of Columbia, LA., was traveling south of LA 741. At the same time, a 2008 Acura RDX was traveling west on US 190,” the Louisiana State Police said in a statement. “As the Acura approached the intersection, Cook failed to yield as he attempted to cross over both westbound lanes of US 190. The front of the Ram struck the passenger side of the Acura in the westbound lane of travel.”

The Daily Wire reported:

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Hendrix, a Democrat, was a passenger in the rear left seat of the vehicle struck during the accident. She was reportedly not wearing a seatbelt and was taken to a local hospital in critical condition before passing away.

The driver and three other passengers in the vehicle also suffered injuries and were taken to local emergency medical facilities for treatment. Cook was reportedly cited for not wearing a seatbelt and not yielding at a stop sign. A breath sample indicated no signs of alcohol or impairment. The accident remains under investigation.

After the news broke, Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard spoke about the tragic accident.

“Speaking to the people in that area they’re just shocked,” he said. “It’s tragic. The community is a small community and they’re mourning the loss of their mayor.”

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Journalist Jeremy Alford tweeted, “Terrible news out of St. Landry. Melville Mayor Velma Hendrix died today in a 2-vehicle crash. She was on the ballot for re-election & is the 2nd mayoral candidate to die since last week. (See below.) Both races are canceled. Qualifying will have to be reopened.”

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“The mayor was a longtime educator in the St. Landy Parish school system. Hendrix was first elected to office in 2018. She also previously served as a town alderman. Hendrix was running for re-election on Tuesday against Sheila “Sam” Londerno and Caretta Robinson. All three candidates were Democrats, with Londerno projected to win 43.03% of the vote, Robertson 40.43%, and Hendrix 16.55%,” the Daily Wire reported.

“Since Hendrix died before the polls closed on Election Day, qualifying for candidates must be reopened. If a new candidate qualifies by Monday, a special election will be held on December 10,” the outlet added. “If no new candidates are added, the current leader Londerno will be declared the winner, St. Landry Parish Clerk of Court Charles Jagneaux told the Acadiana Advocate.”

Gurbaksh Singh Chahal announced on Twitter: “Melville Mayor Velma D. Hendrix, 84 running for reelection was killed in an accident on Election Day, just hours before the polls closed. According to the Louisiana State Police, Mayor Hendrix was involved in a two-vehicle crash just before 2 p.m. Central near Port Barre, roughly 33 miles northeast of Lafayette. Police say that a man driving a Ram pickup truck south on LA 741 did not give way when he tried to cross U.S. 190 westbound lanes. He then allegedly collided with the passenger side of an SUV traveling west on U.S. 190. Louisiana State Police confirm that Mayor Hendrix was an unrestrained passenger at the time of the crash and was transported to a local hospital in critical condition where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries.”

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