Stephanie Payne and Catherine Letendre were friends for over 15 years.
Recently moving to Baton Rouge, she says she was devasted when she heard her best friend was tragically killed.
“I was stunned, hurt, angry, sad because this world has lost a wonderful soul,” she said.
“Stephanie was one of the most caring, giving individuals I’ve ever known,” she said. “Her children and my children went to school together. We worked together at Lincoln Parish schools.
Authorities say she was rear ended when Jack Jordan, driving a Toyota pickup truck, plowed into Payne’s 2013 Nissan Rogue leaving it engulfed in flames.
Payne died at the scene.
Our community has lost someone very valuable and very special,” Letendre said.
When authorities questioned the 18-year-old he reportedly told them God instructed him to kill himself. He went on to say he was going at least 90 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit was 45.
Jordan’s arrest reporte indicates police believe Jordan caused the crash on purpose.
“[Jordan] did admit to us that he did rear-end Ms. Payne,” Taylor Scrantz from the Louisiana State Police, said.
Police say after Jordan was cleared by Emergency Services for an injury to his hand, he attempted to escape but was recaptured.
“[Jordan] is going to be booked on second degree murder wreck less operation simple escape,” Scrantz said.
After losing her oldest daughter to septic shock in 2016, Payne leaves behind her husband Tim and her youngest daughter Isabella. Letendre say’s while she knows Payne is in a better place she will be missed.
“[I’m] rejoicing in the fact that Stephanie is with [her daughter] Savannah now in heaven, but at the same time, it’s gut wrenching that she’s no longer here,” Letendre said.