Mayor running for reelection killed in crash on Election Day

The mayor of Melville, Louisiana, died after a car crash on Election Day.

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Mayor Velma Hendrix, 84, was killed in a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 190 near the town of Port Barre on Tuesday afternoon, the Louisiana State Police said, according to KLFY.

Hendrix’s identity was confirmed by the St. Landry Parish Coroner’s Office.

State police said a Ram 2500 pickup driven by Michael Cook, was traveling south on LA741 while an Acura RDX was traveling west on U.S. 190. Troopers said Cook did not yield when crossing over both 190 and hit the passenger’s side of the Acura.

Hendrix was in the rear left seat of the Acura at the time of the crash. The car’s driver and three additional passengers were also hurt, having moderate to critical injuries.

State police said Hendrix was not wearing a seat belt and was taken to a hospital in critical condition, where she died, The Acadiana Advocate reported.

Cook was not hurt and was cited for failure to yield from a stop sign and for not wearing a seat belt.

Hendrix, who was first elected as Melville’s mayor in 2018, was running for reelection against Sheila Londerno and Caretta Robertson in the contest, according to KLFY.

However, since Hendrix died before the polls closed, qualifying for candidates will reopen until Monday. If a new candidate qualifies, then a runoff will be held next month. If no new candidate qualifies, whoever has the highest vote count between Londerno and Robertson — which according to KLFY and the Louisiana secretary of state —is Londerno, will take office.