Impairment Suspected in Fatal Washington Parish Crash

Published 11:23 am Monday, December 12, 2022

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Impairment Suspected in Fatal Washington Parish Crash

Yesterday, shortly before 9 p.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a two-vehicle crash on LA Hwy 25 near C C Road in Washington Parish. The crash claimed the life of 68-year-old James Tate of Franklinton.

The initial investigation revealed that the crash occurred as 56-year-old Joel Smith Jr. of Madisonville was northbound on LA Hwy 25 in a 2019 Ford F-250. At the same time, Tate was southbound on LA Hwy 25 in a 2019 Ford F-150. The preliminary findings revealed the F-250 crossed the centerline into the opposing lane, which resulted in the F-250 striking the F-150.

Despite Tate being properly restrained, he sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash. He was pronounced deceased on the scene. At this time, impairment is unknown on the part of Tate, but a routine toxicology sample was obtained and will be submitted for analysis.


At this time, restraint use is unknown for Smith Jr. He sustained moderate injuries and was transported to a local hospital. Impairment is suspected to be a factor in the crash on the part of Smith Jr. A toxicology sample was obtained from Smith Jr. and will be submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.


Louisiana State Police would like to remind all motorists that if you feel differently, you drive differently. Alcohol, prescription medication, and other drugs have many effects on the body that negatively affect driving skills. These drugs can impair visual ability, alter the sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills needed to operate a motor vehicle, and decrease reaction times. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and designate a sober driver. Not doing so can have deadly consequences.