On Jan. 7, Eddie L. Cobb, Jr., Brady S. Brown and Ella Williams departed Columbia, S. Carolina, en route to Shreveport via I-20 where Brown would pick up a new vehicle and return to South Carolina.
Mr. Cobb and Ms. Williams would continue to their homes in Beaumont. The last contact with them was made on the evening of the Jan. 7 while they were traveling through the Covington, Ga., area, and there had been no contact since, Paxton said.
On Jan. 10, South Carolina Highway Patrol issued a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) advisory for all states along the 1-20 corridor in which they likely would be traveling.
On Jan. 29, Louisiana State Police’s Air Support Unit and LSP Bureau of Investigations’ Investigators conducted a helicopter fly-over along I-20 specifically searching for this vehicle, said Tpr. Paxton.
From the air, investigators spotted a detached bumper floating in the Tensas River near I-20 (milepost 161). This bumper appeared to match the missing vehicle. Investigators recovered the debris and an attached South Carolina temporary tag contained identifying vehicle information that would be consistent with a Dodge Stratus.
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries began to drag the Tensas River in the area where the debris was found, but due to impeding severe weather and nightfall, the operation was suspended until the following day.
On the morning of Jan. 30, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and a dive team from the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s office were able to locate and recover the Dodge Stratus and the missing individuals who were located inside, Paxton reports.
A preliminary investigation reveals that a 2006 Dodge Stratus, driven by 68-year-old Eddie Cobb Jr. of Beaumont, Texas, was traveling west on Interstate 20 when for unknown reasons, ran off the left side of the road and traveled into the median. The Dodge continued traveling west in the median until it crashed into the Tensas River approximately 10 miles west of Tallulah, Paxton said.
Cobb, along with two passengers, 52-year-old Ella Williams of Beaumont, and 49-year-old Brady Brown of Columbia, S. Carolina, were pronounced dead at the scene by the Madison Parish Coroner’s Office.
Cobb was wearing a seatbelt, Brown was not restrained and it is unknown if Williams was restrained.
A toxicology sample was obtained from Cobb and will be submitted for analysis. Madison Parish Coroner’s Office has requested an autopsy on Cobb in an attempt to determine if a medical condition was a factor.
This crash remains under investigation.
LSP Troop F has investigated four fatal crashes which have resulted in six deaths so far this year.