CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Authorities have identified a North Caddo Magnet High teacher and assistant football coach as the person killed in a wreck involving a parish dump truck.
He is 56-year-old Vivian resident Les Mason, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office reports.
Mason was working with students and staffers at North Caddo Magnet High when he left the campus in Vivian on Thursday morning to attend a special education training session, according to Caddo School District.
He was driving a pickup south on Louisiana Highway 1 about 11:30 a.m. when a Caddo Parish Public Works dump truck pulled out from a stop sign onto Louisiana Highway 169 and into Mason’s path, the Sheriff’s Office reports.
Mason was taken to North Caddo Medical Center in Vivian, where he was pronounced dead.
The dump truck driver, 62-year-old Rodessa resident Willie Jackson, was taken to University Health for treatment of his injuries.
He also has been cited for failure to yield.
Caddo School District issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying, “It is with heavy hearts we confirm the passing of Lester ‘Les’ Mason.”
He worked for nearly 30 years as a special education teacher and assistant football coach in Caddo School District and the North Caddo community.
Mason “... was a product of North Caddo and proudly served his community throughout his tenure with the district.”
He began his career in Caddo as a teacher at Vivian Elementary/Middle.
“By 1998, he had come home to the school he loved dearly, North Caddo High School, and served there until his untimely passing,” says the School District’s statement.
“Les was more than a teacher or coach for North Caddo. He was a father figure, family member and confidante to so many who knew him,” said Annie Cherry, principal at North Caddo High. “He was loved immensely not only at this campus but in our community.
"His loss will be felt for years and his legacy will always be a part of our school community.”
Caddo schools Superintendent Lamar Goree said grief counselors will be on the North Caddo Magnet High campus Friday for anyone seeking support.
“Coach Mason loved North Caddo and the Vivian community. But, more importantly, he cared deeply for every student he met,” Goree said in a statement. "Coach Mason will be remembered for his legacy of service above self and his dedication.
"We join with our North Caddo High School family and those across our district in saying goodbye to a man taken from us too soon. Our prayers are with his family, his students and his colleagues.”
The Caddo Parish Commission also issued a statement Thursday afternoon confirming that a parish employee and vehicle were involved in the fatal accident.
“The Parish extends our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Mr. Les Mason’s family, friends and those whose lives he touched throughout our Parish.”