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One dead following crash on I-49 in Lafayette Parish

CARENCRO, La (ENN) – Police responded to the scene of a three-vehicle on I-49, just south of North University Avenue, in Lafayette Parish on Friday morning.

Artie Gunnells, 58, of Carencro, died in the crash. .   


The preliminary investigation revealed Markayla Johnson, of Lafayette, was traveling north on I-49 while driving a 2019 Kia Optima in the right lane. At the same time, a 2022 Jeep Wagoneer was also traveling north on I-49 in the left lane. For reasons still under investigation, the Kia crossed the centerline and struck the side of the Jeep.

Following the collision, the Kia traveled off the roadway to the left, across the center median, and entered into the southbound lanes of I-49 before striking a 2023 Honda Ridgeline, driven by Gunnells, head-on. 


Gunnells, who was properly restrained, suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene. Johnson and a juvenile passenger were not properly restrained, and both suffered serious injuries. The driver of the Jeep was properly restrained and suffered minor injuries.   


A standardized toxicology sample was collected from both Johnson and Gunnells to be submitted for analysis.

The driver of the Jeep provided a voluntary breath sample, indicating no alcohol was present, and the driver showed no signs of impairment.  


Charges are pending as this crash remains under investigation. 


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