A teacher and football coach at North Caddo Magnet High died in a two-vehicle crash earlier today, said Sheriff Steve Prator.
“He worked here since before I was alive,” said freshman Cory Harris. “The man has worked here since any of the coaches.”
At approximately 11:30 a.m., Les Mason, 56, of Vivian, was traveling south on Hwy. 1 when the driver of a Caddo Parish Public Works dump truck pulled out from a stop sign onto Hwy. 169 and into Mason’s path. Mason, who had the right of way, collided with the dump truck.
“To know one of my childhood friends just lost her father’s life over that intersection breaks my heart,” said Emily Coffman, who lives near Highway 1.
Mason was transported to North Caddo Medical Center by the North Caddo Ambulance Service. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“It was a very sad mood,” said freshman Alijah Cooper. “The principal was crying, people were praying were crying… everyone was sad.”
The driver of the dump truck, Willie Jackson, 62, of Rodessa, was taken to University Health for treatment of his injuries. He was issued a citation for failure to yield.
Statement from Caddo Parish Schools:
It is with heavy hearts we confirm the passing of Lester “Les” Mason.
Coach Mason served the North Caddo community and our district faithfully for nearly 30 years as a special education teacher and assistant football coach. He was a product of North Caddo and proudly served his community throughout his tenure with the district. He began his career in Caddo as a teacher at Vivian Elementary/Middle. By 1998, he had come home to the school he loved dearly, North Caddo High School, and served there until his untimely passing.
“Les was more than a teacher or coach for North Caddo. He was a father figure, family member and confidante to so many who knew him,” said Annie Cherry, Principal of North Caddo High School. “He was loved immensely not only at this campus but in our community. His loss will be felt for years and his legacy will always be a part of our school community.”
Coach Mason to the very end served his students. On Thursday, like so many other days, Coach Mason was at North Caddo High School working with the students and staff. He left the campus by midmorning to attend a special education training session. It was just after he left the school that Coach Mason was killed in a car accident with one other vehicle.
“Coach Mason loved North Caddo and the Vivian community, but more importantly, he cared deeply for every student he met,” said Dr. T. Lamar Goree, Superintendent. “Coach Mason will be remembered for his legacy of service above self and his dedication. We join with our North Caddo High School family and those across our district is saying goodbye to a man taken from us too soon. Our prayers are with his family, his students and his colleagues.”
Additionally, Dr. Goree has called for grief counselors to be at the North Caddo High campus on Friday for any individuals who seek support.
Statement from Caddo Parish:
The Parish can confirm that a Parish vehicle and employee were involved in a fatal accident this morning in northern Caddo Parish.
The accident is currently under investigation by the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office and internal investigation by the Parish.
The Parish extends our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Mr. Les Mason’s family, friends and those whose lives he touched throughout our Parish.