Troopers: Driver charged, likely impaired during three-vehicle crash that killed teen

CENTRAL — The driver Louisiana State Police says is responsible for a three-vehicle crash that killed a 19-year-old promising college baseball player earlier this month has been officially charged and accused of being impaired at the time of the crash.

William Cokes, 49, of Baton Rouge, is now facing the following charges: vehicular homicide, first degree vehicular negligent injuring, reckless operation of a vehicle, driving on the right side of the road, possession of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles and no driver’s license.

The wreck happened on July 12th. According to Louisiana State Police investigators, Cokes was heading east on Magnolia Bridge Rd. when he crossed into the westbound lane and hit Caleb Easterling head-on. Another truck heading west rear ended Easterling. That driver’s name was not released.

Both Easterling & Cokes were airlifted to a hospital. Easterling did not survive his injuries.

Cokes will be booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center upon discharge from medical treatment, LSP says.

Easterling had just left his job cutting grass at Pards in Denham Springs when the accident happened, his mother Becky told UWK.

“Caleb is the best son we could have ever asked for. He has been nothing but a joy to our life. We are devastated and heartbroken and not sure how we will face each day without him. He is goofy and silly and annoying and funny and loving,” Becky Easterling said.

The 19-year-old had graduated from Central High in 2022. He played junior college baseball in Mississippi last year and was headed to William Woods college in Missouri to play baseball this fall. His mother says he was on his way home for a Zoom interview with the college.

“So he was going home to shower and get ready to get on Zoom,” Becky Easterling said. “He had to have his hair just right, that boy had more hair products than I do.”

Caleb was an organ donor, and his family says they’re proud to know their son’s legacy continues.

“Hero’s Walk” at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital (Source: family)

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About Daniel Brown 172 Articles
Daniel Brown is an award-winning journalist from Livingston Parish. Daniel began his career in Baton Rouge before working at television stations in Cleveland, Atlanta, Charlotte and Beaumont. As a newsroom editorial leader, Daniel has helped lead stations to regional Emmy awards as well as Edward R. Murrow awards for distinguished journalism. He is a proud graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University.

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