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Family mourns mother killed in tire shop accident, says it could have been avoided

2 years 11 months 3 weeks ago Friday, March 05 2021 Mar 5, 2021 March 05, 2021 9:08 AM March 05, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A family's not just planning a funeral, but they're also still coming to grips with the tragedy that took their loved one's life.

Family photos capture the happiest of times with 48-year old Gretchen Leblanc. The warmhearted wife and mother of two loved life and her family. They said she dedicated her life to helping others.

"She never said anything ill about anybody and loved everybody. She was an occupational therapist and helped everybody at Baton Rouge General. Everybody she worked with loved her and everyone in our family loved her," said Gretchen's husband, Jody Leblanc.

He was at work Wednesday and had just texted Gretchen when he got the phone call.

"We had an appointment for the tires to get done. And she said, 'I'm going early. They have an appointment open.' That was the last I heard of her," Leblanc said.

Jody learned his wife Gretchen was dead. She was killed in a horrific crash at the Firestone on Burbank Drive near Bluebonnet Boulevard.

Gretchen was sitting on a bench outside of the tire shop, enjoying the warm weather, when a pick-up truck slammed into it. The driver thought the vehicle was already in park.

"I don't want this to happen to somebody else. I don't think it's right that it happened to her, but I'm definitely going to fight to where no one else has to go through what I go through. If I stop one person from going through the pain I'm going through, it's worth it," Leblanc said.

The windows of the tire shop are now boarded up, and bundles of flowers adorn the entrance. The grief over the loss of his wife is mixed with frustration, knowing that the crash could have been avoided.

"If the right precautions had been in the parking lot, she'd still be here," Leblanc said.

The sheriff's office says no charges will be filed against the driver.

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