St. Mary Parish – On August 23, 2020, just after 12:30 a.m., Louisiana State Police Troop I responded to a single-vehicle fatal crash on LA Highway 182 near Alice C Road. The crash claimed the life of 46-year-old Warren Joe Hines, Jr. and 17-year-old Markqel James, both of Franklin, LA.
The preliminary investigation by State Police revealed an officer with the Patterson Police Department attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a 1999 Cadillac Eldorado, driven by 39-year-old Joseph B. James of Franklin. James refused to stop and a pursuit ensued, reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Prior to reaching the city limits of Franklin, the Cadillac ran off the road and struck a tree.
Hines and Markqel James were unrestrained passengers in the fleeing Cadillac and were pronounced dead at the scene. Joseph James, who was also not restrained, was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. The relation between the driver, Joseph James, and the passenger, Markqel James, is unknown.
A toxicology sample was obtained from James and will be submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.
Louisiana state law requires vehicle occupants to be properly restrained in all seating positions, day or night. Statistics show the chances of surviving a crash rise significantly when properly restrained but the decision not to wear a seat belt can have deadly consequences. Motorists are encouraged to make the smart choice and to always wear a seat belt.
Troop I has investigated 36 fatal crashes resulting in 40 deaths in 2020.