LSP investigates deadly holiday crashes

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The Daily News

Sheriff Randy Seal reports that there were no “fatalities or major crashes” in Washington Parish over the weeklong Thanksgiving holiday, but other areas across the state were not so fortunate.

During the week of Thanksgiving, the Louisiana State Police investigated 13 fatal crashes that resulted in 14 deaths, according to TFC Melissa Matey.

Seven of the 14 people killed were not wearing seat belts and two of the crashes involved driver impairment, she said.

The LSP investigated the following fatal crashes:

Troop A (Baton Rouge): One crash resulting in one death. Excessive speed was a factor.

Troop D (Lake Charles): One crash resulting in two deaths. Seat belts were not used, and chemical tests for impairment are pending.

Troop E (Alexandria): One crash resulting in one death. Seat belts were not used.

Troop F (Monroe): Two crashes resulting in two deaths, one of which was a pedestrian. Seat belts were not used and one crash involved impairment.

Troop I (Lafayette): Six crashes resulting in six deaths, including a pedestrian and a motorcyclist. Three of the six crashes involved lack of seat belt usage and one impaired driver.

Troop L (Mandeville): Two crashes resulting in two deaths. One of the crashes involved an impaired driver.

Now as the holiday season continues, Seal and the LSP urge motorists to “abide by the laws of driving sober and properly wearing seat belts.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011 the seat belt usage rate was 84 percent nationwide, but only 78 percent in Louisiana.

Louisiana law requires every occupant, regardless of seating position, to be properly restrained. When worn properly, seat belts significantly reduce injuries and fatalities, according to the LSP.

Another issue is driver impairment, which was a factor in more than 42 percent of Louisiana motor vehicle fatalities in 2011.

Drivers should put a plan in place prior to consuming alcohol, because judgment is the first thing that is affected, Matey said.

“Get a sober driver, call a taxi or simply do not drive,” she said. “Making the right decision can often mean the difference between life and death.”

Seal said he intends to keep local roadways safe.

WPSO deputies will be “out in force” watching for impaired and careless drivers throughout the holidays, thanks in part to a grant from the Louisiana Highway Traffic Safety Commission that helps pay overtime for additional officers to monitor traffic during the season.

“I have zero tolerance for impaired or intoxicated drivers,” Seal said. “If our deputies catch you drinking and driving, you will be arrested and placed in the Washington Parish Jail.”

To report impaired drivers or dangerous roadway conditions, contact the State Police by dialing *LSP (*577) on a cell phone.