As we celebrated our brave men and women who gave their lives for this country during Memorial Day weekend, the summer of 2016 got off to a tragic start on Louisiana highways. Louisiana State Police investigated 9 fatal crashes resulting in 14 deaths statewide. This was a sharp rise from the 7 fatal crashes resulting in 7 deaths that occurred during the 2015 Memorial Day weekend. Poor planning and disregard for personal and public safety resulted in our highest number of deaths in recent years.
Unrestrained occupants and impaired drivers accounted for several of the highly preventable deaths this holiday weekend. Throughout the weekend, Troopers statewide arrested over 100 suspected impaired drivers, potentially preventing even more serious injury or fatal crashes. Impaired driving continues to be a major threat on our roadways, and presents a danger to other motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and those responding to crashes as well.
The following is short synopsis of each fatal crash investigated by LSP over the 2016 Memorial Day weekend:
Troop A (Baton Rouge area):
5/27/2016 at 2:29 a.m. – A single vehicle crash on LA 429 at Roddy Road in Ascension Parish resulted in one death. The operator of a motorcycle ran off of the road to the right while in a left hand curve. He entered a ditch where he and his passenger were ejected. The operator was pronounced deceased and his passenger sustained minor injuries. Alcohol is suspected as a factor in the crash.
5/29/2016 at 2:13 a.m. – A bicyclist was struck by a vehicle on LA 1 south of LA 75 in Iberville Parish. The bicyclist was traveling south on LA 1 in the left lane and was wearing all black clothing when he was struck by a southbound vehicle. He was pronounced deceased on scene. The driver of the vehicle sustained moderate injuries. Drug and alcohol use is unknown, but toxicology tests are pending.
5/30/2016 at 2:16 p.m. – A single vehicle crash occurred on LA 386 west of LA 77 in Iberville Parish. The operator of a motorcycle entered a right hand curve and ran off of the road to the left. He struck a concrete culvert and was ejected. He was pronounced deceased on scene and a toxicology test is pending.
5/30/2016 at 9:35 p.m. – A two vehicle crash occurred on LA 67 north of LA 432 in East Feliciana Parish. A northbound vehicle was passing two other cars in a no passing zone. It was approaching the crest of a hill when it encountered a southbound vehicle coming over the hill. They collided head-on, and both vehicles became totally engulfed in flames. The driver of the northbound vehicle and his two passengers, one being an infant, suffered fatal injuries. The driver of the southbound vehicle also suffered fatal injuries. Seat belt use and impairment is unknown at this time, but toxicology tests are pending.
Troop C (Houma area):
5/27/2016 at 4:07 p.m. – A single vehicle crash occurred on LA 56 south of LA 58 in Terrebonne Parish. This crash involved a vehicle traveling off of the road to the right and striking a concrete driveway. The right rear passenger was restrained but suffered fatal injuries. Impairment is not suspected, but toxicology tests are pending.
5/27/2016 at 8:20 p.m. – A two vehicle crash occurred on LA 56 near Tammy Street in Terrebonne Parish. The driver of a Corvette was traveling southbound at a high rate of speed. He crossed the center line and struck a vehicle head-on. The driver and passenger in the Corvette were restrained during the crash, but both suffered fatal injuries. The driver of the second vehicle was also killed. Alcohol is suspected as a factor in the crash for the driver of the Corvette. Toxicology tests are pending.
Troop G (Shreveport area):
5/28/2016 at 11:13 p.m. – A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on LA 157 at Bills Lane in Bossier Parish. The pedestrian was walking in the southbound lane and was struck. The pedestrian was wearing a gray shirt with camouflage pants. The driver tested negative for alcohol and toxicology tests are pending on the pedestrian.
Troop I (Lafayette area):
5/27/2016 at 11:55 a.m. – A single vehicle crash occurred on LA 96 near Zeb Drive in St. Martin Parish. The vehicle ran off of the road to the left and struck a tree. The front passenger was not wearing a seat belt and suffered fatal injuries. The driver was wearing a seat belt and suffered moderate injuries. Impairment is unknown, but toxicology tests are pending.
Troop L (Mandeville area):
5/28/2016 at 2:15 a.m. – A single vehicle crash occurred on US 190 east of I-10 in St. Tammany Parish. The vehicle was eastbound when it ran off of the road to the left and struck a dirt embankment. The vehicle became airborne then overturned. The driver was restrained but suffered fatal injuries. Impairment is unknown and toxicology tests are pending.
Troopers and local first responders witness firsthand the devastating effects that driving while impaired and lack of proper seat belt use have on drivers and passengers across the state each day. “The Memorial Day holiday should be about remembering those who served our country and not about families mourning those who were lost in senseless, avoidable crashes,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “Most of these crashes were preventable. Driving is a full time job and we owe it to our loved ones to make good decisions while driving and prevent further tragic loss of life.”
In addition to placing themselves in danger, a driver’s poor decisions while behind the wheel often have far reaching consequences affecting too often innocent victims. Louisiana law requires every vehicle occupant, front seat and back seat, to be properly restrained day or night. Taking the time to buckle up every trip and never driving a vehicle while impaired or riding with an impaired driver is crucial to avoiding the often life changing consequences of being involved in a serious motor vehicle crash.
Motorists that witness hazardous situations are urged to call *LSP (*577) and report that activity to the Louisiana State Police.