MELVILLE, La. (KPEL News) - 84-year-old Velma D. Hendrix woke up this Election Day as the mayor of Melville seeking re-election to the position. But a fatal crash during the morning hours took her life today.

Louisiana State Police say the crash happened shortly after 11:00 a.m. on U.S. Highway 190 near LA Highway 741. Spokesman Trooper Thomas Gossen says Hendrix was a passenger in an Acura that was traveling west on US 190 when it was struck by a pickup truck traveling south of LA 741 that failed to yield as the driver tried to cross over both westbound lanes of US 190. The front of Michael Cook's truck struck the passenger side, where the mayor was sitting.

Melville Mayor Velma Hendrix, photo by KATC
Melville Mayor Velma Hendrix, photo by KATC

Unfortunately, Mayor Hendrix was unrestrained at the time of the crash and later died from her injuries at a local hospital. The person driving the vehicle Hendrix was in - as well as three additional passengers (seat belt usage unknown) - all suffered moderate to critical injuries and are being treated at local hospitals.

Cook was also unrestrained but was not injured. Troopers say his breath sample indicated 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.

Meanwhile, the routine toxicology sample taken from the driver the Acura is still being analyzed at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.

As mentioned earlier, Velma Hendrix was the incumbent in the race for mayor of Melville. Fellow Democrats Sheila "Sam" Londerno and Caretta Robertson were challenging her for the seat.

This is the 50th fatal crash being investigated by Troop I in 2022. 56 people have died in these crashes.

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