Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre and St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. reported a boating crash near the Lafourche-St. James Parish line claimed the life of a man and woman from Vacherie. Deputies located the bodies of 38-year-old Shawn Cortez (W/M) and his wife, 48-year-old Cheryl Cortez (W/F), on Friday.
Early Friday morning, deputies with the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a call that a boat carrying two people had crashed into a tree in Bayou Chevreuil just off LA Highway 20 near the Lafourche-St. James Parish Line. Deputies discovered a woman, later identified as Cheryl Cortez, deceased aboard the vessel. Deputies then began searching for Shawn Cortez who deputies believe was also aboard the boat when it crashed. Personnel from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Lafourche Parish Government Office of Emergency Preparedness, and divers from the Killian Police Department, as well as divers, K-9 units and Water Patrol from the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene to assist the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office in the search. Following a search that lasted over 10 hours, Shawn Cortez’s body was located in Bayou Chevreuil at around 6 p.m. on Friday.
The investigation into the crash is being conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Sheriff Webre and Sheriff Martin remind citizens to call 911 or your local Sheriff’s Office immediately if someone you know is late returning from a trip on the water. Boaters should always let a relative or friend know the areas they plan to fish in case something unexpected happens. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries offers boating safety classes and online courses. Visit their website at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses for more information.