Tree falls on truck, kills Sulphur man

Calcasieu Parish prepares for potential flooding in Starks/Vinton area

A weather-related accident claimed the life of a Sulphur man Thursday morning after a large tree uprooted and fell on a U-Haul truck traveling along East Burton Street, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said during a press conference.

Deputies responded at 11 a.m. and later pronounced William Hood, 68, dead at the scene. Hood was a passenger in the truck, and his son, Jacob, 33, also of Sulphur, was the driver. Jacob was hospitalized with what is believed to be non-life threatening injuries, according to Mancuso.

Mancuso said the tree likely fell because of wind and the ground being saturated from steady rainfall this week.

“It’s really a freak, weird, tragic accident that happened, and it’s a shame,” he said.

Deputies are still investigating the accident.

Flood preparation

Mancuso said his office is preparing for potential flooding in the Vinton/Starks area Sunday or Monday. He said deputies are deploying high-water vehicles and have a command center set up to prepare for any emergencies or rescues.

“We want to be prepared now and get everything situated and planned for and give people plenty of time to prepare,” Mancuso said. “I think we have plenty of time for this. I don’t want anybody to panic.”

According to initial forecasts, the flooding will not be as severe as in 2016, when the Sabine River crested at 33 feet. Jonathan Brazzell, a service hydrologist for National Weather Service in Lake Charles, said the Starks/Deweyville gauge is forecasted to reach roughly 28 feet by either Monday or Tuesday. “I think we’re going to have a flooding event: it’s really now about the severity,” Mancuso said. “We’re hoping for the best.”

Mancuso said his office has upgraded its equipment over the last few years to respond quickly to serious floods. He said every high-water vehicle has a life jacket, throw cushion, tow rope, utility tool and first-aid kit.

“Not only do (deputies) have this equipment, they’ve been trained and taught how to properly use it,” Mancuso said.

Flooding could also occur on the east side of the parish, including Old Town Road and the Sam Houston Jones Park area, Mancuso said. Old Town Bay could crest at 8 feet, Brazzell said. Flood stage is 4 feet.

Brazzell said no rain is expected over the next several days.””Weather-related fatality graphic

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