Two sisters injured Tuesday in the head-on collision near Dutchtown High that killed their 15-year-old sister are expected to make a full recovery as their family grieves, and the man who crashed into them remains in jail.
The three Prairieville sisters were driving on La. 74, headed to Dutchtown High School, at 7 a.m. when Dwight Perrilloux III, a 19-year-old from Reserve suspected of being high on drugs, slammed head-on into the girls’ car while trying to swerve around traffic in his lane, State Police have said.
The crash took the life of Claire Carline, 15, who was sitting in the back seat. Claire had her seat belt tucked under her left arm so it wouldn’t reach across her neck, given her short stature, said Ron Moreau, a neighbor and friend of the Carline family asked to speak on their behalf.
Her sisters, Camille, 17, and Colleen, 16, suffered moderate injuries and were taken to a hospital. Both suffered back fractures and Camille suffered a broken arm, said the girls’ aunt June Carline LaCour.
The two teens are now in stable condition and are expected to make a full recovery in four to six weeks, Moreau said.
LaCour said the three girls drove to school together every morning.
The girls’ parents, Troy and Lisa Carline, “just can’t believe that when they kissed their daughters goodbye, it was the last time,” Moreau said. “It is unfortunate that at 7 a.m. someone under the influence is going to tear this family apart. It is just not right.”
State Police have said Perrilloux was likely high on narcotics but are not sure which kind, and toxicology results are still pending, said Trooper First Class Jared Sandifer, a State Police spokesman. Perrilloux was taken to a hospital for treatment of moderate injuries and was then transferred to the Ascension Parish jail, where he remained Wednesday in lieu of $151,144 bail, according to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office. He was booked on counts of vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular negligent injuring and first-offense DWI.
Perrilloux’s grandfather, Dwight Perrilloux Sr., 64, of the Reserve area, said he felt horrible for both his grandson and the victims’ family.
“I’m just thinking about my grandchild and the little girl that died,” Perrilloux Sr. said. “That’s all that’s on my mind.” He added, “If I could bring that little girl back to life, I would. I’d do anything. I’d give my life for that girl to have her life all over again.”
Dwight Perrilloux III’s uncle, Dwayne Perrilloux, insisted his nephew was not on drugs, but was coming back from a 12-hour shift at a plant, adding that his nephew usually attended classes at a local college after one of his shifts.
“I understand that another family lost their child, I really do understand that,” Dwayne Perrilloux said. “But it was an accident. Why make it out like he is the bad guy? (Police) didn’t even listen to what he had to say.”
Court records show that Dwight Perrilloux III was in a pretrial diversion program after he was charged with marijuana possession in a school zone in a March 2013 incident.
LaCour, the girls’ aunt, was infuriated that someone accused of being under the influence could cause such a tragic accident.
She said the three sisters loved going to a Disney theme park every year, noting that Colleen is a flag twirler while Camille is a manager of the basketball team, and describing Claire as “a model student” who loved reading and math.
“There’s nothing anyone can say or do to bring her back,” LaCour said.
Follow Daniel Bethencourt on Twitter, @_dbethencourt.