Double tragedies strike a Napa family

2013-10-05T20:30:00Z 2013-10-05T20:38:32Z Double tragedies strike a Napa familyKERANA TODOROV Napa Valley Register
October 05, 2013 8:30 pm  • 

For the past week, Larry La Pierre and his family have faced a double whammy, dealing with the aftermath of a grandson’s serious crash near St. Helena and the death of his wife of nearly 50 years a day later.

On Sept. 26, Jacob La Pierre, 25, suffered critical injuries after he crashed into a tree on the Silverado Trail near Taplin Road as he hauled roofing material to a job in Deer Park.

La Pierre was airlifted to Queen of the Valley Medical Center and rushed to the intensive care unit.

But while his family rallied around the young roofer who works for the family business, La Pierre Roofing, another tragedy struck.

A day after La Pierre’s crash, the family matriarch, Joyce La Pierre, 64, died from a stroke as she and others chatted in the waiting room of the intensive care unit.

“We were all very, very stressed. And my wife was very, very stressed,” said Larry La Pierre, reflecting on the tragic events. “You talk about a double whammy.”

So many things have to be done now that his wife has died, La Pierre said Friday. “You just kind of get up in the morning and go through the motions,” he said.

At the same time, the family is very proud that Joyce, a woman of strong convictions, has donated five organs.

“My mom gave everything to everyone all the time,” daughter Pam La Pierre said. “It was just another thing she could give.”

Coy La Pierre — Jacob’s father — said his mother was sitting next to him in the waiting room that evening when she suffered a stroke.

“She was sitting there and talking to everybody and then all of a sudden she stopped answering (questions) and everybody became concerned,” he said. “And (then) somebody said, ‘I think she’s having a stroke,’” he said. “I started tapping her arm and then her cheek, and she didn’t react, and that was it.”

Larry La Pierre said he was home trying to deal with the insurance matters related to his grandson’s crash when his son Coy called to urge him to come to the hospital immediately.

“Life is a very painful thing at times,” said Coy La Pierre, who ran the roofing company with his parents. “We’re just trying to be strong.”

Jacob La Pierre was listed in stable condition Friday afternoon at Queen of the Valley Medical Center, according to hospital representative Vanessa deGier.

Coy La Pierre said a man driving behind his son saw a vehicle pull in front of Jacob’s truck, and Jacob’s truck then swerved to avoid a collision and crashed into a tree.

A passer-by, Leopoldo Martinez of St. Helena, stopped and rushed to Jacob’s aid, putting out an engine fire with his hand-held fire extinguisher and removing debris from Jacob, according to La Pierre family members and the California Highway Patrol.

While Martinez tried to put out the fire, other people comforted Jacob or tried to control traffic.

First-responders had to extricate Jacob from the 1995 Ford Flatbed, and he was transported by a CHP helicopter to Queen of the Valley Medical Center, according to the CHP.

Martinez, a trucker, left his name and contact information with a woman at the scene, said Coy La Pierre.

He went to the hospital with his wife and daughter last weekend as soon as Coy La Pierre contacted him.

“This man is a hero,” Coy La Pierre said.

Martinez said he does not feel like a hero. “It could happen to me,” he said Saturday, referring to the crash.

CHP Officer Anna Paulson on Friday said the cause of the collision remains under investigation. In the meantime, the La Pierre family hopes witnesses to the crash will come forward and contact them at their business at 255-9097.

Copyright 2016 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. Auntie M
    Report Abuse
    Auntie M - October 06, 2013 7:03 am
    I read about both events in the on line Register - so sorry to hear about your loss - and prayers for you and Jacob as you deal with all of this.
    Your old neighbor on Carolina St. marge
  2. Napa
    Report Abuse
    Napa - October 06, 2013 7:11 am
    Our sympathy to the family first to Larry for a swift recovery, and to his late devoted mother may she rest in peace. What a terrible thing to happen.
  3. Old Time Napkin
    Report Abuse
    Old Time Napkin - October 06, 2013 7:36 am
    Very sad. This is a good , hard working local family. Thank goodness for Mr. Martinez who helped at the accident.
  4. dowling
    Report Abuse
    dowling - October 06, 2013 9:17 am
    The Dowling's thoughts and prayers are with your family at this very difficult time. We are very, very sad for your loss. Joyce was a wonderful woman.
  5. glenroy
    Report Abuse
    glenroy - October 06, 2013 9:18 am
    Absolutely OTN.....
  6. guiduccij
    Report Abuse
    guiduccij - October 06, 2013 10:16 am
    My prayers our with all of you. Coy will always be like family 2 me. I will have my church add a prayer for your son. Love Jayne Guiducci
  7. napa1957
    Report Abuse
    napa1957 - October 06, 2013 12:44 pm
    This is so sad. As a 64 year old grandmother, this really hit home. My sincere sympathies and prayers go out to this family. Everyone be sure to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you every day, we never know what tomorrow may bring.
  8. HORTON1998
    Report Abuse
    HORTON1998 - October 06, 2013 4:13 pm
    To Coy, April, Larry and the rest of the La Pierre family my heartfelt sympathies for what you are going through. Very sad for the loss of your wife and mother but happy to hear Jacob is doing better.
  9. Scotty
    Report Abuse
    Scotty - October 06, 2013 6:38 pm
    Larry and Coy, you got a lot of friends out here.

    Thanks for two new roofs. I'll need more in the spring when Jacob is back on the job!
  10. lisa miller
    Report Abuse
    lisa miller - October 06, 2013 8:02 pm
    My blessings are with Larry Pam coy and the rest of the family. Joyce will really be missed. this woman and the rest of the family took me in over 20 years ago and treated me as their own.. this family is the heart of the meaning of FAMILY
  11. lionkng
    Report Abuse
    lionkng - October 07, 2013 3:22 pm
    Coy and Larry and Pam and your family, My long time friends and neighbors. Our prayers and heart goes out to all of you. Your all very strong and must have a lot of faith. Both were to young and very strong people for god to have chosen so quickly. If Jacobs is like anything like you Coy look out wildlife. Heaven has became just a little bit better with those two.
    God Bless you all Lapierres,
    Leo and Toni
  12. jmg25
    Report Abuse
    jmg25 - October 09, 2013 4:00 pm
    This is Bradley kent a friend of this fine young gentleman I hope u get well soon bro my prayers are with u and your mom
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick