Louisiana Racing Commission chairman Meaux killed in car accident _lowres

In a photo provided by Fair Grounds Race Course, Infrattini, front left, with Miguel Mena aboard, battles past Mark Valeski, with jockey Rosie Napravnik, to capture the Louisiana Handicap horse race Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Fair Grounds Race Course/Hodges Photography, Lynn Roberts)

Jerry Meaux, chairman of the Louisiana Racing Commission, was killed in a two-vehicle crash Thursday.

Meaux, 74, from Duson, was appointed chairman of the commission by Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2008.

“This is just tragic,” commission member Dr. Thomas Grimstead of New Orleans. “Jerry was a first-class gentleman and always open to everybody’s ideas.

“He was true champion of horse racing. It’s a real loss.”

Meaux’s death came only a few days before a special meeting of the commission to consider the deferred license renewal of Fair Grounds owner Churchill Downs Inc.

The meeting had been scheduled for Monday at the commission’s office in New Orleans, but because Meaux’s funeral will be held that day, it has been moved to 9 a.m. Tuesday.

While commission first vice-chairman Bob Wright will preside at Tuesday’s meeting, Jindal will appoint the next chairman.

“The business of the commission will carry on,” LRC Executive Director Charlie Gardiner said. “That’s the way Mr. Meaux would have wanted it.”

According to Louisiana State Troopers, Meaux was driving his pickup in Acadia Parish on Thursday when a truck driven by Blaire Duhon, 22, of Scott crossed the center line and collided with Meaux’s car. He was declared dead at the scene; Duhon has been charged with vehicular homicide.

Visitation for Meaux, who was prominent in horse breeding, cattle ranching and rice growing in the Lafayette area for several years, will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Delhomme Funeral Home in Lafayette. They will continue at 9 a.m. Monday with services set for 1 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Meaux is survived by Betty Meaux (his wife of 52 years), five children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.