Lafayette Man Dies After His Car Was Hit During Pursuit
A Lafayette man has died from his injuries after the car he was in was hit by a car involved in a pursuit. 85-year-old Gurvais Matte was seriously injured in the crash that happened last Thursday on Hwy 182 near Birdsong Rd. State Police investigators determined the driver of the other car, Ashley Berza, was being chased by the Lafayette City Marshal's Office. Berza allegedly crossed the center line and hit the car occupied by Matte and the driver of the vehicle head-on. This crash remains under investigation, and charges are pending for Berza.
Read the full release from Louisiana State Police below:
Lafayette Parish – At approximately 4:30 pm on May 30, 2019, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop I began investigating a two vehicle serious injury crash on LA Hwy 182 near Birdsong Rd. in Lafayette Parish. The crash ultimately took the life of 85-year-old Gurvais Matte of Lafayette.
The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as 38-year-old Ashley Berza of Lafayette was traveling northbound on LA 182 in a 2006 Nissan Altima. Berza was being pursued by a unit with the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office. At the same time, 80-year-old Doris Prudhomme of Lafayette was traveling southbound on LA 182 in a 2014 Ford Escape. Berza crossed the centerline, and as a result her Nissan struck the southbound Ford.
Matte, a front seat passenger in the Ford Escape, was unrestrained at the time of the crash. He was transported from the scene to Lafayette General Hospital with serious injuries, to which he ultimately succumbed to on June 3rd. Prudhomme was restrained and received moderate injuries. Berza was properly restrained and received minor injuries. Impairment is unknown at this time, but standard toxicology samples were obtained for analysis. This crash remains under investigation, and charges are pending for Berza.
Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists that all occupants in a vehicle must be restrained, regardless of seating position. While not all crashes are survivable, statistics show that the chances of surviving a crash rise significantly when properly restrained. Making good choices while in motor vehicles such as never driving while impaired and always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained can often mean the difference between life and death.