Funds support wreck victims’ families
Deanne Cheatham, 7, of Patterson, emotionally remembers her mother, sister, brother and cousin at Tuesday's candlelight vigil behind Patterson Junior High School. (The Daily Review/ Preston Gill)
Two school systems brought together by tragedy are joining their communities in supporting families of the four victims of Saturday’s accident in Centerville.
A car accident claimed the lives of four St. Mary Parish residents: LaDonna Cheatham, 36; two of her children, Marcus Cheatham, 16, and Destiny Cheatham, 6; and her nephew, Dewayne Escort, 14. Another of Cheatham’s sons, Mark, was injured in the accident.
Louisiana State Police said the accident occurred when Cheatham’s vehicle experienced tire failure and crashed into a school bus carrying the Lafayette High School baseball team on their way to a scrimmage against Berwick High School.
Superintendent Donald Aguillard said St. Mary Parish schools will sponsor a system-wide fundraiser to help defray the family’s funeral costs. A jeans day will be held at all schools Feb. 28. Students choosing to wear jeans to school on that day will make a minimum $1 donation.
“It is at times like these, that we must come together as a community to support the victims’ families and friends and help ease the pain of such a senseless tragedy,” Aguillard said.
Meanwhile, Lafayette High School, through the sponsorship of the baseball parents, is supporting a collection today and Monday. While they are requesting donations be brought to the school, a gofundme.com account has been started by KATC TV-3 in Lafayette, which originally reported the fundraising information in that parish.
As of 10 a.m., that fund had raised $3,752 for the families.
Lafayette High also observed a “remembrance day” for the families at 11:41 a.m. today, the time of the accident.
Additionally, a benefit account has been established at Whitney Bank. Donations to the “Cheatham-Escort” fund can be made at any branch of the bank.
Funeral services for the Cheatham-Escort family have been set for March 1. Visitation is 9 to 10 a.m. with the funeral immediately following at 10 a.m. at the Siracusa Recreation Center.
Burial will be in the Mechanicville Emmanuel Baptist Church Cemetery in Houma.
The benefit account can be accessed online at: www.gofundme.com/6zx3hk.