Truck driver killed in Highway 10 crash

Published 9:02 pm Monday, February 20, 2017

A Mississippi man was killed in a crash Monday afternoon, according to information from the Louisiana State Police.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Monday, troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L responded to a two-vehicle fatal crash on Louisiana Highway 10, east of Franklinton. The driver of a log truck, 30 year-old Christopher Rex Blansett of Sumrall, Miss., was killed in the crash.

Trooper Dustin Dwight said that initial on-scene investigation led troopers to determine that the crash occurred as 36-year-old April Bertoniere of Bogalusa was driving a 2004 Ford Explorer eastbound on Highway 10. For reasons still under investigation, Bertoniere was traveling at a slow rate of speed and was partially on the right shoulder and partially in the eastbound lane, Dwight said.

Dwight said that Blansett was driving a log truck eastbound on Highway 10, approaching Bertoniere’s Explorer.  Blansett entered the westbound lane in an attempt to pass the Explorer. Soon after Blansett entered the westbound lane, Bertoniere abruptly turned left from the shoulder to enter a private drive on the westbound side of the roadway, Dwight said. Blansett aggressively applied the brakes in an attempt to avoid crashing into Bertoniere.

Due to Blansett’s aggressive braking, the load he was hauling shifted, slid forward, and pushed through the cab of the tractor. Blansett was fatally wounded in the crash. He was pronounced deceased on-scene by the Washington Parish Coroner’s Office, Dwight said.

Bertoniere’s vehicle was not hit and she was not injured in the crash. All drivers were wearing their seatbelts and alcohol is not suspected to have been a contributing factor. Bertoniere provided Troopers with a voluntary breath sample, which showed no amount of alcohol present. As part of the ongoing investigation, troopers did obtain a blood sample from Blansett. As with all fatal crash investigations, the sample will be sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. As the crash investigation progresses, any violations of Louisiana law will be forwarded to the Washington Parish District Attorney’s Office for prosecution, Dwight said.

“Safe decisions remain one of the most important factors in protecting yourself from being involved in a crash,” Dwight said. “The decisions you make could not only affect you, but others as well. Speed, carelessness, impairment, and distractions are all the product of poor decisions behind the wheel. Please, speak to your loved ones about the importance of safe decisions. The conversation you have today could be all the difference tomorrow.”