Car stolen after a breakdown on I-49 in Sunset


The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating a car theft after a family breaks down on Interstate 49. State P{olice are warning drivers to be vigilant when leaving a disabled vehicle on the side of the road.

When a breakdown occurs on a busy interstate and is left unattended on the shoulder, State Police tags it with a red card.

The card gives drivers a grace period of 24 hours before a towing company is contacted. For this Opelousas family, it only took one hour for someone else to remove their car.

“I mean justice needs to be served. It’s rough without no car,” said Brandon Lavergne.

Lavergne and his dad were traveling down Interstate-49 when their car caught a blowout in Sunset near Biker Barn.

“Got the tire fixed. Then my friend came to pick us up to get a battery,” Lavergne explained. They left for about an hour to get more equipment.

“Got back and the car was gone,” said Lavergne. City and state police were notified and it appears it was not legally towed away.

“Our tag is going to have the location of the vehicle, the make and model, the date that it was tagged, and the hour that it was tagged,” said State Police Trooper I Spokesman Thomas Gossen.

Gossen warns drivers of the risk they’re taking when leaving vehicles unattended. “Just know that, leaving that vehicle abandoned, you’re still responsible to make sure it is able to be seen, if it’s possible, leave your flashers on,” he said.

Calling 911 to give them a heads up when a break down occurs, he said, is the safest bet. “Let them know what’s going on with the vehicle. If you can’t make it back right away, at least we know you’re working on the problem,” Gossen added.

Now going on day five with no transportation, the situation is taking a toll on the Lavergne family.

“My sister is a dialysis patient and we live five miles from Opelousas. Sometimes transportation doesn’t come to get her and she winds up laying in the hospital,” said Lavergne.

Currently, the family is asking the public to be on the lookout for a 1992 Lincoln Town Car.

State Police states the only time they call to remove a vehicle immediately is if it becomes a hazard for other motorists.

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