Shaq is helping cover the funeral costs for an 11-year-old killed in a Louisiana car crash

By Allen Kim, CNN

    (CNN) -- When Shaquille O'Neal learned about the death of two children in a car wreck in Louisiana, he knew he wanted to help.

Now, the NBA Hall of Famer and TNT broadcaster is pitching in to cover the funeral costs for 11-year-old Keshon Batiste.

Batiste and 12-year-old Trayvon Alexander were in the back seat of a vehicle when it crashed into a ditch and hit a tree on April 10 in Breaux Bridge, according to CNN affiliate KLFY. Both died at the scene.

Phil Conrad, who is friends with O'Neal, told KLFY that O'Neal first heard about the wreck through local media. O'Neal was a star at Louisiana State University, about 50 miles east of Breaux Bridge.

"He (Shaq) called me and asked me to reach out to the family on his behalf, and get back with him," Conrad, the former chief deputy for the Lafayette Parish Marshal's office, told KLFY.

"When I called him back and told him that the family had raised over $3,000 in a GoFundMe, but was still short of what they needed, he immediately stopped what he was doing and sent the money to me, and I wrote out a check."

Conrad told KLFY that O'Neal was willing to cover the cost of expenses for both families, but the Alexander family had insurance.

According to CNN affiliate KATC, the driver was identified as Paula Thibeaux. She had apparently failed to stop at a stop sign, drove through the intersection and crashed into a ditch before hitting a tree, KATC reported, citing police.

Two other children in the vehicle were taken to a hospital for treatment. Police are still investigating.

Conrad and the Lafayette Parish police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This isn't the first time O'Neal has assisted the family of a young victim.Last year he helped cover the funeral costs for 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was killed in a drive-by shooting.

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