A young Baton Rouge couple and their infant son were killed Saturday morning in a car crash as they were heading home from New Orleans, where they were on a Thanksgiving holiday visit with family members who had not yet had the chance to see their baby boy.
Their pickup truck hit a box truck pulling back onto Interstate 10 near Bluebonnet Boulevard shortly after 3 a.m., a Louisiana State Police news release says.
Despite both being buckled up, Jayla Sharnikiya Danielle Young, 22, died on the scene, and her boyfriend, Joshua Eugene Claverie, 20, died shortly after he was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
Their 4-month-old son, Joshua Claverie Jr., died later that afternoon, state police said. He had been sitting between his parents in a rear-facing child’s car seat.
The driver of the Freightliner box truck, Christopher L. Stewart, 56, also of Baton Rouge, had pulled off onto the right westbound shoulder to use his cell phone and was driving back onto the highway. Claverie Sr., who was driving the couple’s F-150, crashed into the back of the box truck.
Stewart suffered minor injuries.
The couple and their son were on their way home after visiting Claverie’s family members, who live in Alabama but had come to New Orleans for the holiday.
“They were going to see his mother because she hadn’t seen the baby yet,” Young’s uncle Brandon Grayer said.
“They were very close,” Grayer said of the couple.
Young, a Capitol High graduate, attended Southeastern Louisiana University, Grayer said, and she worked at a local CVS store.
Tesha Grayer, Young’s cousin, said Young loved being a parent.
“She was the sweetest young lady you could ever meet,” Tesha Grayer said. “Her son was her pride and joy.”
Claverie’s sister, Jy’lah Jones, said the same was true for her brother.
“He brought him much joy,” Jones said of the baby and her brother. “It was a great relationship. He was a great father, and he did everything for him.”
Claverie played rugby at Southern Miss, where he attended for a year after graduating at the top of his class at Capitol High. He was employed at Trinity Marine in Brusly.
The couple met two years ago while they were both working for a Pizza Hut in Central, Brandon Grayer said.
“He was a respectful young man, a great supporter and a man of God,” Jones said.
“The family is truly hurt, but we most definitely are not questioning God’s work,” Tesha Grayer said.
No arrests have been made in the crash, said Trooper First Class Dustin Dwight, a state police spokesman.
When Stewart voluntarily submitted to a breath test, police found no trace of alcohol in his system.
The crash remains under investigation, though, Dwight said.
Editor’s Note: This story was modified at 7:55 p.m. Saturday. The infant was 4 months old, not 2 months, as originally reported by State Police.