Unrestrained Greesburg woman killed in St. Helena Parish collision


FILE – In this Sept. 25, 2020 file photo, a heavy Louisiana State Police presence is seen at the New Chapel Hill Baptist Church during funeral services for Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth in West Monroe, La. An Associated Press review of thousands of records has revealed multiple cases when Louisiana State troopers and some of their supervisors exchanged emails with casual, demeaning uses of the n-word. All of it comes against the backdrop of a federal civil rights investigation over the in-custody death of a Black motorist that has roiled the state’s premier law enforcement agency and led to an abrupt change in its leadership. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

PINE GROVE, La. — Shortly before 12:30 p.m on Saturday, Louisiana State Police from Troop L from began investigating a two vehicle fatal crash on LA Hwy 16 west of LA Hwy 63 in St. Helena Parish.

The crash claimed the life of 44-year-old Melissa Varnado of Greensburg.  

The initial investigation revealed the crash occurred as 23-year-old Brittney Harrell of Greensburg and her passengers were traveling westbound on LA Hwy 16 in a 2007 Toyota Corolla.

Varnado was the rear seat passenger in the Toyota. At the same time, a 2015 GMC Yukon was traveling eastbound on LA Hwy 16. For reasons still under investigation, Harrell failed to yield and made a left turn into the path of the GMC. This resulted in the GMC striking the Toyota on its passenger side door.

Varnado was unrestrained at the time of the crash and sustained fatal injuries. She was pronounced deceased on the scene. Harrell and the front seat passenger of the Toyota were also unrestrained and sustained minor injuries.

They were transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The driver and passenger of the GMC were properly restrained and sustained minor injuries. As part of the ongoing investigation, toxicology samples were obtained from both drivers for analysis.


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