Former pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes killed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 11, 1999

VIDALIA — The Rev. Harvey Fortier, who served as priest at Our Lady of Lourdes from 1986-92, died early Friday morning from injuries suffered in an automobile accident Thursday night on U.S. 71 in Cheneyville.

Fortier, 75, died at St. Frances Cabrini Hospital in Alexandria after being transferred from Bunkie General Hospital.

His funeral will be held at Mary Hill Catholic Church in Pineville at 10 a.m. Monday with Bishop Sam Jacobs officiating.

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According to the accident report from Louisiana State Police Troop E, Fortier’s 1999 Honda Accord crossed the center line into the northbound lane and sideswiped another vehicle. Both vehicles came to rest in the southbound ditch off the roadway, beyond the shoulder.

Fortier was going 40 miles per hour and there was a light drizzle at the time of the accident, the report said.

The accident was apparently not alcohol related.

Fortier was wearing a seat belt.

&uot;I really think he fell asleep,&uot; said Terry Lemoine of Simmesport, a longtime friend of Fortier whose son Steven was Fortier’s Godson.

Fortier suffered from narcolepsy, a condition characterized by brief attacks of deep sleep.

&uot;The other guy saw him coming and pulled over a little bit,&uot; Lemoine said. &uot;Both air bags came out. There were no skid marks.&uot;

Lemoine said Fortier was returning from the bishop’s office in Alexandria after getting a haircut.

&uot;He was the oldest working priest in the diocese,&uot; Lemoine said. &uot;He bought a trailer next to our house two weeks ago and was planning on moving in with us when he retired.&uot;

Christopher Costantino, 31, of Pineville was the driver of the other car. He did not receive any injuries.

A wake service will be held today at 7 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Simmesport and visitation will be held at the church today from 4 to 9 p.m. and Monday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Burial will be at Mary Hill Cemetery in Pineville.

Fortier was born April, 12, 1924, in Haverhill, Mass.

He studied at St. Clement’s Hall Minor Seminary and St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass.; Maryhill Minor Seminary in Pineville; and St. Procopious Seminary in Lisle, Ill.

He was ordained May 28, 1955, by Bishop Jeremiah Minihan in Haverhill.

Fortier served as assistant pastor at St. Joseph Church in Marksville; St. Rita Church in Alexandria; and Christ The King in Bossier City before being named pastor of Christ the King in Simmesport for 20 years.

He then spent six years in Vidalia before being transferred to be pastor at Church of the Little Flower in Evergreen and St. Joseph in Cheneyville, where he still served as pastor.