St. Landry mayor, up for re-election, killed hours before polls closed

The mayor of Melville, in St. Landry Parish, was killed on Nov. 8th in a two-vehicle crash on Hwy. 190.

Velma D. Hendrix, 84, was elected as the mayor of Melville in 2018 taking away nearly 70% of the votes. She was up for re-election but tragically, her life was cut short in a deadly crash.

Louisiana State Police Troopers responded to a crash on Hwy. 190 near Hwy. 741 around 11am on Nov. 8th, election day.

The preliminary investigation shows a 2015 Ram 2500 pickup truck, that was driven by Michael Cook of Columbia, LA., was headed south of LA 741.

At the same time, a 2008 Acura RDX was headed west on 190. As the Acura approached the intersection, Cook failed to yield as he attempted to cross over both westbound lanes of US 190. The front of the Ram hit the passenger side of the Acura in the westbound lane of travel.

Hendrix was the rear left seat passenger in the Acura. She was not buckled at the time of the crash and was transported to a local hospital in critical condition where she died of injuries.

The driver of the Acura, who was buckled, and three additional passengers (seat belt usage unknown) all suffered moderate to critical injuries and were transported to local hospitals for treatment.

Cook was also unbuckled but was not injured. He submitted a breath sample indicating no alcohol in his system and had no signs of impairment. He was cited for failure to yield from a stop sign and no seat belt.

A routine toxicology sample from the driver of the Acura has been submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.

Troop I has investigated 50 fatal crashes resulting in 56 deaths in 2022.

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