The mayor of a small Louisiana town who was running for re-election was killed in a car crash on Election Day, authorities said.

Velma D. Hendrix, 84, was a passenger and not wearing a seat belt when the car she was in was struck by a pickup truck on a highway about 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to a statement from Louisiana State Police. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.

Hendrix was the mayor of Melville. She was running for re-election, according to the St. Landry Parish Clerk.

In a message posted on the town’s website from Hendrix, she says it’s a community where people raise families, work hard and have fun. A town sign boasts it is the “Catfish Capital of Louisiana.” Melville is about 130 miles northwest of New Orleans.

The crash occurred on U.S. Highway 190 near Louisiana Highway 741, police said.

Michael Cook, of Columbia, Louisiana, was driving a 2015 Ram pickup headed southbound on highway 741 while a 2008 Acura RDX was headed westbound on highway 190, police said. When the driver of an Acura approached an intersection, Cook failed to yield while crossing both westbound lanes of highway 190, police said.

The front of the pickup then struck the passenger said of the Acura, according to police.

Hendrix was in a rear passenger seat, police said.The driver of the Acura was wearing a seat belt. Three other passengers in the car were hurt and their injuries were described as moderate to critical. It was unknown, police said, if they were wearing seat belts.

Cook, the driver of the pickup, police said, was not wearing a seat belt, but was not injured.

He submitted to an alcohol test which determined he had no alcohol in his system, police said.

He was cited for failure to yield to a stop sign and for not wearing a seat belt. A routine toxicology sample from the driver of the Acura has been submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. This crash remains under investigation, police said.

The St. Landry Parish Clerk offered prayers and condolences to Hendrix’s family and friends in a statement on Facebook.

Qualifying for the open mayor seat in Melville is open until Monday, and election will be held on Dec. 10, according to the statement.

“In the case of no one else qualifying before Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, the candidates from Nov. 8, 2022 with the highest votes will be declared Mayor of Melville,” the statement said.

Hendrix was running third in her bid for re-election with 116 votes on Tuesday, the clerk’s office said. Candidates Sheila Londerno had 182 votes and Caretta Robertson received 171 votes, according to the clerk. 

Melville has about 1,000 residents.