On Air Now

Listen Now


Partly Cloudy
H 64° L 42°
  • clear-day
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 64° L 42°
  • cloudy-day
    Partly Cloudy. H 64° L 42°
  • heavy-rain-day
    Chance of Rain. H 59° L 44°

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Louisiana deputy driving home from own bachelor party killed in Mississippi crash

Louisiana deputy driving home from own bachelor party killed in Mississippi crash

Deputy driving home from own bachelor party killed in crash

Louisiana deputy driving home from own bachelor party killed in Mississippi crash

There were 111 days to go.

That was where the countdown stood Sunday on Jonathan Panks’ and Colette Lemonier’s wedding webpage as Panks, 30, of Slidell, drove home to Louisiana from his bachelor party in Florida.

The countdown came to a sudden, tragic halt around 1:30 p.m. as Panks, a corporal with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, was killed in a head-on collision on Interstate 10 in Harrison County, Mississippi.

>> Read more trending news

According to WLOX in Biloxi, Panks was driving his Chevy Silverado west on the interstate when an eastbound Toyota Camry crossed the median and smashed into his truck. The driver of the Camry, Ross Labrosse, 36, of Violet, was pronounced dead at the scene, NOLA.com reported.

Panks was pronounced dead about an hour after the crash, at Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport.

Both men died of blunt force trauma, WLOX reported.

Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer told NOLA.com there were reports of a car matching the description of Labrosse’s Camry traveling erratically on the interstate prior to the crash. He said Labrosse was apparently trying to pass another vehicle when he lost control.

“That’s as innocent a victim as you have,” Switzer said of Panks.

Three passengers in Panks’ pickup truck were taken to area hospitals for treatment. WVUE in New Orleans reported that the passengers included Panks’ brother, Jared Panks, and two close friends.

All three remained hospitalized Monday, the news station said. Lemonier wrote on Facebook that their injuries were “extensive.”

Lemonier, who had an engagement photo set as her profile picture, mourned her fiancé on social media.

“My heart has been shattered into a million pieces. I still can’t believe this is real,” Lemonier wrote. “I love you so much, Jonathan. You forever have my heart.”

She wrote that Panks was the best thing that had ever happened to her.

“I am so grateful that you chose me to be your forever,” she wrote. “I love you with everything I have.”

Lemonier, who was set to marry Panks on Nov. 23 in Kentwood, told WVUE he was the love of her life.

“He was the best. He’s the best person you could ever meet,” Lemonier told the news station. “He has so many friends and so many people that loved him.”

Lemonier said she was at a family gathering when one of Panks’ friends called her from the scene with the tragic news. The friend told her Panks, who was not conscious, had to be cut from the wreckage of his truck.

After he died, some of Panks’ fellow sheriff’s deputies traveled to Mississippi to escort their friend and colleague’s body home, WLOX reported.

Panks’ older sister, Melissa Panks, told WVUE she was flying back from Colombia when she learned of the crash.

“I felt pretty helpless and like I didn’t have any control, because I couldn’t be there for my family," Melissa Panks told the station. “And then, when I got the other phone call, I was in the middle of the plane in my seat and just was in shock. And everybody around me heard, and I just started crying.”

Jonathan Panks and Lemonier had been together for nearly five years. Her father, David Lemonier, said he feels as though he lost a son in the accident.

“Jonathan was part of this family for almost five years,” David Lemonier said. “So, he’s like a son. He is a son.”

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office officials said deputies are mourning their colleague, who had been with the agency since 2006. Sheriff Randy Smith told NOLA.com the news was difficult to accept.

“Jonathan was much more than a dedicated deputy who served our community with pride and professionalism,” Smith said. “He was a good-hearted, can do-spirited friend who loved the law and cared deeply for the people and parish he served.”

Nick Tranchina, a former deputy, said he mentored Panks when they were on the SWAT team together.

“He was a good guy, top-notch,” Tranchina told the news site. “It’s a hard loss for the community and the department.”

In a statement posted on Facebook, Sheriff’s Office officials said Panks had worked in corrections, criminal patrol and street crimes and was currently assigned to the marine division. Panks helped recover the body of his cousin, Chad Michael Panks, 33, of Pearl River, last summer following a boating accident on the West Pearl River.

WVUE reported at the time that Chad Panks and his dog were traveling to his houseboat around 2 a.m. June 15, 2018, when the accident apparently took place.

Family members realized something was amiss when the dog returned to Chad Panks’ home that afternoon without him, the news station said. They found his sunken boat an hour later and sheriff’s deputies, along with agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, located Panks’ body in the water around 9 p.m. that day.

Chad Panks’ sister, Shannon Panks Torres, wrote on Facebook on Sunday that words could not describe the pain she felt over her cousin’s death.

“You found Chad when we needed you the most in the world, and now I just want to be home to hold Colette, Melissa, Jason, Jared and Aunt Lori for you,” Torres wrote. “You will be forever missed, never forgotten and loved beyond measure. I love you to the moon and back.”

Numerous friends and family members shared Panks’ official Sheriff’s Office photo as their profile pictures in his memory. One relative shared a photo showing Panks holding her newborn.

Vince Coulon shared a photo of the American flag outside his home at half-staff.

“For Jonathan,” he wrote.

Brett Nabors, who works in enforcement for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, also posted Panks’ photo.

“Rest in peace, brother,” Nabors wrote.

Lemonier told WVUE it has been difficult to stay in the home she shared with her fiancé. She recalled how he would often leave her little notes around the house, including one he left Thursday morning before leaving for his weekend bachelor’s getaway.

“He said, ‘Babe, dishes in the dishwasher will be clean, trash is out. I want you to know I will truly miss you the few days I’m gone. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me,” Lemonier read for the station, fighting back tears. “I love you, and I hope you have some fun this weekend, too.”

Now, instead of continuing to plan their wedding, Lemonier and Panks’ family are planning his funeral.

Read More


  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will ask Thursday for the drafting of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. >> Read more trending news  Update 12 p.m. Dec. 5: President Donald Trump slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday after she announced the House will move forward with articles of impeachment against him. “Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit,” Trump said. “She hates that we will soon have 182 great new judges and sooo much more.”  Pelosi told reporters Thursday that the president’s actions since being sworn into office left Democrats with “no choice but to act.” Pelosi previously declined to pursue articles of impeachment against Trump, but she said Thursday that the surfacing of a whistleblower complaint filed against Trump over the summer changed her mind. The whistleblower in August filed a complaint about concerns over Trump’s attempts to get Ukrainian officials to investigate one of his political rivals, former vice president and 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden. Update 11:45 a.m. Dec. 5: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is speaking with reporters after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the House will move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Update 11 a.m. EST Dec. 5: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is speaking with reporters after announcing earlier Thursday that the House plans to move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Counsels for Republicans and Democrats will present impeachment evidence Monday at a 9 a.m. hearing, according to Politico and Axios. The Judiciary Committee will also hold a hearing to mark up the articles of impeachment, according to Axios. Update 9:50 a.m. EST Dec. 5: Officials with President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign slammed the decision announced Thursday morning by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to draft articles of impeachment against Trump. “The facts are uncontested,” Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday morning. “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security.” Marc Lotter, director of strategic communications for Trump’s 2020 campaign, said in a tweet that Democrats decided to impeach the president “over ‘feels’ not ‘facts.'” Campaign manager Brad Parscale accused Democrats of trying to “take the decision of who should be president out of the hands of voters.” “Impeaching the President has always been their goal, so they should just get on with it so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and expose The Swap for what it is,” he said. “Speaker Pelosi, Chairman (Adam) Schiff, and Hunter Biden should testify, and then we can get back to the business of our country.” Democrats have been building a case for impeachment against Trump based on his decision to ask Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of several Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. Update 9:30 a.m. EST Dec. 5: White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats “should be ashamed” after the California politician announced plans to move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.  “(Trump) has done nothing but lead our country - resulting in a booming economy, more jobs & a stronger military, to name just a few of his major accomplishments,” Grisham wrote Thursday morning in a tweet. “We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate.” Pelosi said Thursday morning that Trump’s decision to ask Ukraine for an investigation into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, were “a profound violation of public’s trust.” “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of national security by withholding military aid and crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival,” she said. Update 9:20 a.m. EST Dec. 5: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday morning that the House will move forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. “The facts are uncontested,” she said at a news conference Thursday morning. “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security.” The announcement came one day after House Democrats held a closed-door meeting on impeachment, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree. The House Judiciary Committee also held its first hearing Wednesday on impeachment. “Our democracy is what is at stake,” Pelosi said Thursday. “The president leaves us no choice but to act.” The historic announcement came as Democrats push toward a vote, possibly by Christmas. Original report: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will give an update Thursday morning on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The California Democrat plans to make the announcement from the Speaker’s Balcony Hallway at 9 a.m. EST. On Wednesday, the impeachment inquiry moved to the House Judiciary Committee as three of four law professors considered experts in impeachment from across the country testified they believe Trump’s action toward Ukraine constitutes bribery. The three professors – Pamela Karlan, Noah Feldman and Michael Gerhardt – were called by the Democrats. The fourth professor testifying Wednesday, Jonathan Turley, called by Republicans, did not agree. House Democrats launched the inquiry in September to investigate whether Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter, and their connection to a Ukrainian energy company in exchange for an invitation to the White House and a military aid package. Read more here or here. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Disney has released the latest trailer for its series of remakes. This time “Mulan” is getting the live-action treatment. The film, which stars Yifei Liu in the title role, follows Mulan’s story as she takes the place of her father in the Chinese army, disguised as a man to fight to defend her country, CNET reported. >> Read more trending news  Watch the trailer below: The film, which will hit theaters on March 27, also stars Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Jet Li as the emperor and Jason Scott Lee as Bori Khan.
  • A restaurant in Columbus, Indiana, is hoping to ease the issues for customers with dementia and their families. Amazing Joe’s has rolled out a new menu for Sunday afternoons called “Forget-Me-Not,” WISH reported. Nick Grams, the restaurant’s managing partner, had first-hand knowledge of the struggles dementia patients and their families have when going to restaurants. His mother died from the condition this year. >> Read more trending news  Grams said it was always a challenge between forgotten orders and loud noise. Once a month on Sunday afternoons, he will offer a quieter room with limited menus so dementia sufferers can enjoy dinner out, WISH reported. The menu has only seven items, many of them finger foods, The Tribune in Columbus reported. The staff has also received training on how to deal with their special customers. Grams told WISH that he hopes other restaurants follow his lead in Indiana. The town has also started an initiative that’s called Dementia Friends, The Tribune reported. The program was started by Thrive Alliance in an effort to help make the town more dementia-friendly. They’ve worked with first responders by training them on how to deal with someone with dementia during an emergency, the newspaper reported.
  • An Oklahoma man was arrested this week on two different felony charges after investigators say he knowingly transmitted HIV to at least two victims. >> Read more trending news  Court papers state Benjamin Whitney had consensual sex with the victims and didn’t tell them he had HIV. In one case, the victim reportedly said Whitney explicitly told him he was not infected with the virus. The victim didn’t know he had it until he started feeling ill shortly after their sexual encounter and was tested by the Tulsa County Health Department. In the second case, the victim reportedly didn’t know he had it until he was approached by others who told him he may want to get checked. Court papers state Whitney was diagnosed with HIV in 2014 and received counseling regarding his test results, so he was aware he had it. Whitney was charged in July and was arrested on Tuesday. Read more here.
  • College football's conference championships are set for this weekend, a day ahead of the announcement of the pairings of the upcoming bowl games. >> Read more trending news  Below is a list of championship games, what time the games start and on what channels. Friday, Dec. 6 · Pac-12 Championship: Utah vs. Oregon – 8 p.m. ET, ABC Saturday, Dec. 7 · Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma vs. Baylor – Noon ET, ABC · Sun Belt Championship: Appalachian State vs. Louisiana – Noon ET, ESPN · Mid-American Conference Championship: Miami of Ohio vs. Central Michigan – Noon ET, ESPN 2 · Conference-USA Championship: UAB vs. FAU – 1:30 p.m., CBSSN · American Athletic Championship: Memphis vs. Cincinnati – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC · Southeast Conference Championship: LSU vs. Georgia – 4 p.m. ET, CBS · Mountain West Conference Championship: Boise State vs. Hawaii – 4 p.m. ET ESPN · Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship: Southern vs. Alcorn State – 4 p.m. ET ESPNU · Big Ten Championship: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin – 8 p.m. ET Fox · Atlantic Coast Conference Championship: Clemson vs. Virginia – 8 p.m. ET ABC
  • Kids in Arizona may soon be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school. Rep. John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction) proposed a bill that would make the recitation of the pledge a daily requirement unless a parent informs the school that their child is not permitted to participate. The bill also would force schools to allow for at least a minute of each day for “quiet reflection and moral reasoning,” The Associated Press reported. >> Read more trending news  Arizona schools must currently give time to students to say the pledge if they want to, but participation is not mandated. The American Civil Liberties Union says Fillmore’s plan is unconstitutional, the AP reported. An ACLU spokesperson, citing West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, said the Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that forcing students to recite the pledge is unconstitutional, KTAR reported.