A Dutchtown High School teen on her way to school with her two sisters was killed Tuesday in a head-on collision at 7 a.m. with a 19-year-old man who State Police said was high on drugs.
Claire Carline, 15, of Prairieville, was killed in the crash and her sisters, Camille, 17, and Colleen, 16, had moderate injuries and were being treated at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, said Jared Sandifer, a State Police spokesman.
Dwight Perrilloux III, 19, of Reserve, was booked into Ascension Parish jail on counts of vehicular homicide, first-offense DWI and two counts of vehicular negligent injuring, Sandifer said.
Sandifer said officers believe that Perrilloux was high on narcotics, but they aren’t sure what drugs he was using. A toxicology sample was taken and sent to the state Crime Lab, he said.
The accident occurred as Camille Carline was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Sonic west on La. 74 near Interstate 10.
Perrilloux, who was driving east on La. 74 in a 2006 Dodge Charger, came over the I-10 overpass where there was a line of stopped traffic, Sandifer said. In an attempt to avoid the cars ahead of him, Perrilloux swerved into the westbound lane and hit the girls’ car head-on, Sandifer said.
The two older sisters, sitting in the front seat, were wearing their seat belts, Sandifer said. Claire, who was in the back seat, was wearing the lap portion of her seat belt but not the shoulder portion, he said.
Perrilloux had moderate injuries and was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales. He was released later Tuesday, arrested and booked into jail, Sandifer said.
Dutchtown High School Principal Carli Francois sent an email as well as a robo call Tuesday morning to parents to let them know about the accident.
“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that the Dutchtown High School family has suffered a major tragedy this morning,” Francois said in the email and the robo call.
“We ask that you keep this family and others in your thoughts and prayers,” she said.
Johnny Balfantz, public information officer for the Ascension Parish School Board, said the mood was somber in the school office where administrators gathered with law enforcement officers during the morning.
“We were reflecting on how we would feel if it was our children,” he said.
Students who came to the office and were upset were helped by a counselor, Balfantz said.
School let out early on Tuesday, a previously planned early dismissal day for staff development, Balfantz said.
As students started to pour out of school, some students were crying and others looked stunned.
“The whole school seemed to shut down for a little while,” Hayden Deters, a ninth-grader, said of when word of the crash reached students.
Kyra Harleaux, a sophomore who’s on the girls basketball team, said she knows Claire’s oldest sister, Camille, a senior, who is manager of the basketball team.
“Our coach called us in the office. We didn’t really know what was going on,” Harleaux said. “She told us about the accident. She was crying.”
“Everybody took it pretty hard,” Harleaux said.
Lilli Blanchard, a ninth-grader, said she’s friends with a group of students who were good friends with Claire.
Blanchard said she went with a group of Claire’s friends to talk to a grief counselor.
“It was really sad,” Blanchard said.
She said the tragedy has brought students together, not only at Dutchtown High but at other schools in the district.
Natalie Jeter, also a ninth-grader, said she talked with one of her teachers on Tuesday about the tragedy.
The teacher talked about loss and grief and how, after a while, it gets better, Jeter said.
Grief counselors that the School Board contracts and counselors from other schools supplemented the counseling staff on Tuesday, Balfantz said.
The counselors were available to meet individually with students or to speak with a classroom of students, he said.
The counselors will be at the school again Wednesday and as many days as are needed, Balfantz said.