A Gonzales man died Wednesday afternoon in Port Allen after the car he was driving veered into the lane of an oncoming 18-wheeler truck causing a near head-on collision.
Juston Godeaux, 33, of Gonzales, was driving a 2003 Volkswagen Passat with his mother as his passenger when the vehicle veered into oncoming traffic, westbound on Rosedale Road in Port Allen, according to Port Allen Police Chief Esdron Brown.
Brown said that Godeaux reportedly swerved once, missing an oncoming vehicle, but swerved quickly across the centerline a second time, directly into the path of a 2002 Peterbuilt driven by Stephen Berthelot, 28, of Livonia, causing the truck to flip onto its side.
“At the last moment the guy swerved into his lane and pretty much crashed into each other,” explained Brown Friday afternoon.
The wreck happened on Rosedale Road near Franklin St., according to a press release from the Port Allen Police Department.
“We’re trying to find out what made him swerve over into that lane, because he did it twice, the second time he got hit,” said Brown. “We checked his cell phone and he wasn’t using his cell phone - he wasn’t texting and driving. So I don’t know what was going on.”
Godeaux was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger, Cynthia Perrone, the driver’s mother, was airlifted to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, where she was placed in SICU in serious condition.
Christopher Fontenot, of Mobile, Ala., Perrone’s son and brother to Godeaux, said that Perrone sustained a broken collarbone, bruised ribs, a clean-broken ankle, left arm and shoulder fractures, a fractured spine and a concussion.
“She knows she was in an accident, she knows somebody was killed. But it’s like, I don’t know if she’s forgetting, I don’t know if it’s amnesia, she’s just foggy,” said Fontenot Friday afternoon at the Port Allen Police Department.
Fontenot said that Godeaux was in the process of taking his mother, who had served time in prison, to her probation officer when they got into the wreck.
Reports say that both the driver and passenger of the Passat were wearing their seatbelts.
Fontenot said that he doesn’t know what happened to his brother and mother, but remembered that the vehicle being driven had recently had work done on the front axels.
“He’d just had the CV Axles replaced. This was about the 3rd time they’ve had the car in the shop. It had some front end work done.”
Brown said that officers attempted to speak to Perrone to find out what happened, but after suffering a head injury, she can’t remember clearly what occurred.
“We spoke to the mother and she actually doesn’t remember anything. We were hoping she would be able to tell us,” he said. “It’s simple, but it’s bad. We’re still wondering why he would come over like that. Especially with an 18-wheeler. That’s what’s unique about this.”
The driver of the Peterbuilt was uninjured. The truck, whick belongs to Brian Dauzat Trucking, LLC, in Batchelor, La., was carrying a load of soybeans, which spilled onto the road and into a nearby ditch.
Cleanup caused the road to be closed until about 12:30 a.m. on October 17.
Fontenot said that they are now in the process of trying to bring together funds for funeral arrangement for Godeaux, who did not have insurance.
“We’re not trying to say who was right and who was wrong, we’re just trying to get him a proper burial,” said Cristy Sims, Fontenot’s fiancée.
To help the family with the burial, donations can be made at any J.D. Bank in Lousiana, as an account has been made under the name Ashley Godeaux on behalf of Juston Godeaux. To donate online, visit http://www.gofundme.com/4uwag0?preview=1.