2 children dead after being struck by SUV while fishing

Two young children died Tuesday afternoon after an SUV slammed into them and three adults on a family fishing outing at a roadside bayou — despite the best efforts of doctors, nurses and others who stopped to help.

David Lanus Jr., 6, and his 9-year-old sister, Faria Lanus, of Geismar, died along the western bank of the bayou that runs along Bluff Road, and their father, David Lanus Sr., 30, and two family friends suffered moderate injuries, said Trooper First Class Jared Sandifer, a State Police spokesman.

At 3:25 p.m., a 2004 Nissan Armada driven by Shawnette B. Taylor, 47, of Prairieville, ran off the side of Bluff Road, onto the steep embankment and continued about 100 to 200 feet, striking the party, Sandifer said. Troopers do not know what caused Taylor to run off the road.

Firefighters from the Ascension Fire District No. 3 said when they arrived, an emergency room doctor, a paramedic, a dentist and a cardiac nurse were working together to do what they could in the chaotic situation.

The elder Lanus and the two family friends were transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Sandifer said. The Ascension Parish Coroner’s Office pronounced the two children dead at the scene.

Taylor, who suffered minor injuries, was taken from the scene to Troop A headquarters on Highland Road, Sandifer said.

About two hours after the crash, red and yellow children’s fishing poles were still on the ground, surrounded by athletic shoes, a hat, beer and sports drink bottles. Corks marking the fishing lines were floating in the bayou.

The Armada sat partially in the bayou, supported by a tree, until a wrecker hauled it off.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said people regularly fish that area of the bayou, which is situated in a “significant curve” on Bluff Road between Bluff Oaks Avenue and Interstate 10.

That’s where the bayou crosses under Bluff Road through a culvert.

The road runs along the eastern edge of the large Bluff Swamp and the Spanish Lake Basin and is mostly wooded along the western side.

Troopers closed Bluff Road between the I-10 overpass at Perkins Road and C. Braud Road in Dutchtown shortly after the crash and did not reopen it until about 7:45 p.m.

Sandifer said they do not suspect Taylor was intoxicated at the time of the crash, but a toxicology sample was submitted to the State Crime Lab.

Taylor was wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash, he said.

The investigation is ongoing and Sandifer said he did not know if investigators are going to cite or arrest Taylor.

Anyone with information on the accident is asked to contact State Police Troop A at (225) 754-8500 or their local law enforcement agency.

Advocate staff writers Ben Wallace and David Mitchell contributed to this report. Follow Ryan Broussard on Twitter, @ryanmbroussard.