White Castle  – Shortly before 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday March 8, 2016, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop A began investigating a two-vehicle fatality crash on LA 1 at the intersection of Corporal Herman Brown, Jr. St. in Iberville Parish. The crash took the life of 19-year-old Orthello Batiste of White Castle, La. and left one other WCHS student with serious injuries.

The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as Batiste was traveling westbound on Cpl Herman Brown, Jr. St. in a 2012 Acura TL. At the same time, 36-year-old Russell Gerace, Jr. was traveling northbound on LA 1 in a 2008 Ford Tow Truck (Advantage Towing).

For unknown reasons, Batiste failed to yield at the stop sign and began to cross LA 1 into the path of Gerace’s vehicle. Batiste’s vehicle was struck on its driver’s side in the northbound lane of LA 1 by Gerace’s vehicle.

Batiste was properly restrained but sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Iberville Parish Coroner’s Office. Batiste’s passenger was not properly restrained and received serious injuries in the crash.

Gerace was properly restrained and received only minor injuries. Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in this crash but a toxicology sample will be taken from both drivers for analysis.

Batiste was a senior at White Castle High School, played football for the school and recently wrapped up his final basketball season at WCHS.

Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists that all occupants of a motor vehicle must be restrained, regardless of seating position. While not all crashes are survivable, statistics show that the chances of surviving a crash rise significantly when properly restrained. Making good choices while in motor vehicles such as never driving while impaired, always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained, and avoiding all distractions can often mean the difference between life and death.