Hundreds honor victims of deadly crash with candlelight vigil
PATTERSON, LA (WAFB) -
Flames flickered and were passed from one candle to another Monday
night as hundreds gathered behind the Patterson Junior High School to remember
four victims from a deadly car accident.
On Saturday police responded to an accident involving an SUV and a
school bus on Highway 90 in St. Mary Parish that claimed the lives of 36-year-old Ladonna Cheatham of Patterson and her children, 6-year-old Destiny Cheatham
and 16-year-old Marcus Cheatham.
14-year-old Dwayne Escort of Patterson was
also killed. Those lives were remembered and honored by many, each with their
own reason for standing together.
"I'm going to stay strong. I'm going to keep my head up high. I
know and I want y'all to do the same," said one friend.
"To be walking with her big sister, walking down the halls
smiling," recalled a teacher.
A few family members also spoke, thanking those in attendance for
their support and expressing how much they miss their family.
"So grateful for all of y'all that came out and support us, text
message and Facebook. We love all y'all and thank you so much," said Edward
Campbell, the uncle of the children killed.
Tammy Craddock, who taught Destiny in kindergarten, says she felt
compelled to attend the vigil to share her love for her student.
"She touched so many lives in her young life, not just mine but
other people too," said Craddock. "I wanted to come out and support the family
and the love I had for her."
Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan says the love for the victims goes
well beyond immediate family members or friends, instead bringing an entire
"When we talk about connection its education, municipalities,
we're talking about family bonds, blood-lines. We can't avoid it," said Grogan.
Cheatham-Escort Benefit Account has been set up at Whitney Bank for those
wishing to help the family. Louisiana State Police says it continues to
investigate the accident.