Impairment suspected in fatal Highway 436 crash

Published 9:22 am Saturday, September 24, 2016

Shortly after 8:10 p.m. on Friday, troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L responded to a single vehicle fatal crash on Louisiana Highway 436, approximately a half mile north of Louisiana Highway 21 in Washington Parish.  The crash claimed the life of Lance Anthony Vonhallenbeck, 49, of Covington.

According to Trooper Dustin Dwight, public affairs section for Troop L, investigating troopers determined that the crash occurred as Lark W. Starnes, 54, of Abita Springs was driving a 2006 Ford F-150 northbound on Highway 436 at a high rate of speed.  Starnes’ vehicle traveled off the right side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle crashed into a utility pole and a tree.  Dwight said that Starnes and his passenger, Lance Anthony Vonhallenbeck, were both unrestrained at the time of the crash.

Vonhallenbeck sustained severe injuries in the crash and was pronounced deceased on-scene by the Washington Parish Coroner’s Office. Starnes suffered moderate injuries and was transported to North Oaks Heath Systems.

Dwight said that Troopers suspect impairment to have been a factor in the crash. Blood samples were obtained and will be sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. The crash remains under ivvestigation and charges are pending Starnes’ release from North Oaks Hospital, Dwight said.