Franklinton man dies from weekend wreck

Published 8:20 am Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Shortly after midnight Saturday, a Louisiana State Trooper on patrol in the Troop L area stopped a Chevrolet Cobalt for speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour in a 55-mile per hour zone on U.S. Highway 190 near the intersection of Louisiana Highway 1077 in Covington. The Cobalt was driven by a 14-year-old juvenile male.

While interviewing the driver outside of the vehicle, the front seat passenger jumped over the center console into the driver’s seat and fled the scene of the traffic stop westbound on U.S. 190. The trooper then secured the original driver in his patrol car and radioed to Troop L dispatch a description of the Cobalt and the direction of travel. The trooper was not in pursuit of the Cobalt and had lost sight of the fleeing vehicle.

After securing the driver, the trooper began to travel westbound on U.S. 190 in search of the Cobalt. Approximately two miles west of the traffic stop, the trooper came upon the scene of a high-speed crash involving the Cobalt and an 18-wheeler.

The crash scene investigation identified 21-year old Franklinton resident Brandon Bigner as the front seat passenger who jumped into the driver’s seat while the trooper was interviewing the original juvenile driver. Bigner fled the scene of the stop westbound on U.S. 190. Approximately two miles west of the initial traffic stop, the Cobalt, operated by Bigner, swerved completely across the eastbound lane of U.S. 190 onto the eastbound shoulder. Bigner overcorrected to the right into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler operated by 62-year-old Walker Hurt of Gulfport, Miss. The front of the 18-wheeler impacted the left side of the Cobalt. Bigner, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and suffered severe injuries. He eventually succumbed to his injuries.

Bigner is suspected of alcohol use. A blood sample was obtained from Bigner and was submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.

Fourteen-year-old Folsom resident Sloan McDow was properly restrained in the rear seat of the Cobalt. McDow died on the scene as a result of injuries he sustained in the crash. Hurt, the driver of the 18-wheeler, was properly restrained and sustained minor injuries in the crash. Troopers do not suspect Hurt to have been impaired at the time of the crash. Hurt voluntarily provided a blood sample, which was sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.

Troopers arrested the original juvenile driver of the Cobalt for speeding and underage DWI. The juvenile male was released to the custody of his parents on a juvenile custodial agreement.

Troopers wish to remind motorists that impaired driving and drugged driving continues to be a major problem throughout Louisiana. Whether impaired through alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two, the consequences of driving while impaired remain the same. Troopers will actively enforce Louisiana’s DWI laws across the state and will remain committed to a public education campaign to end impaired and drugged driving.