Paulina man dies from injuries in Tuesday evening crash

A Paulina man died Wednesday after being seriously injured in a Tuesday evening crash on U.S. 61 in St. James Parish, Louisiana State Police reported.

Thomas J. Laiche, 63, of Paulina, died at University Hospital in New Orleans after receiving serious injuries in the three-vehicle crash at U.S. 61 and La. 641, troopers said in a news release Wednesday.

Laiche’s 2002 Toyota Tundra pickup was hit broadside by a 2012 Ford F-550 truck about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Laiche was trying to make a left turn from Airline Highway westbound onto La. 641 southbound, troopers said.

David J. Matt, 46, of Opelousas, was driving the Ford F-550 northbound on La. 641 and trying to cross the intersection of La. 641 and Airline, troopers said.

Once the trucks collided, they ran into a 1997 Dodge Intrepid also headed westbound on Airline, hitting the driver’s side of that car, troopers said.

Trooper Jared Sandifer, spokesman for State Police Troop A, said Wednesday the intersection has a traffic light and troopers are trying to determine which driver had the green light at the time of the crash.

He said Matt may face criminal counts depending what that investigation finds.

Matt and the driver of the Intrepid, Jarard Caballero, 27, of Pierre Part, were wearing their seat belts and received minor injuries, troopers said.

Laiche was not wearing his seat belt and was taken to nearby St. James Hospital before being transported to New Orleans later, troopers said.

Impairment is not considered a factor in the crash, troopers said. Toxicology samples were taken from all drivers and submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis, troopers said.