Police search for driver in traffic crash that claimed life of New Orleans girl


BELLE CHASSE, La. (WGNO) — On Friday, October 22, Louisiana State Police began investigating a traffic crash that ultimately claimed the life of a New Orleans girl.

Around 8:00 p.m., state troopers responded to a multiple-vehicle crash in Gretna.

According to a preliminary investigation, 58-year-old Wendell Lachney was driving south on LA 23 in a 2020 Infinity Q50. Police say Lachney was traveling at a high rate of speed when his car rear-ended a Toyota Sienna minivan driving in the same direction. The crash then forced the minivan to slam into a Chevrolet pick-up truck.

Police report 9-year-old Abigail Douglas, a restrained passenger in the minivan’s third row, was transported to the hospital for severe injuries. She died at the hospital on Sunday, October 24.

Lachney was also transported to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. LSP reports he left later that same evening. Lachney was then arrested and booked in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center for the following charges:

  • 1st degree negligent injuring
  • Reckless operation
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Possession of Schedule I substance (Marijuana)
  • Open container
  • Seatbelt violation

On Saturday, October 23, Lachney was released from the JPCC on bond. The next day (the day Douglas succumbed to her injuries), police obtained an arrest warrant for Lachney on a vehicular homicide charge.

Police have not been able to locate Lachney and are now asking for the public’s help. Anyone with any information should contact LSP at 504-471-2775, Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans, or their local law enforcement.

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