State Police said the driver in a single-vehicle fatal crash was not wearing a seatbelt and is suspected of impairment.


Louisiana State Police Troop A investigated a single-vehicle fatal crash on Interstate 10 eastbound near Sorrento shortly after 3 a.m. Thursday morning.


Investigating troopers learned that Merle Reed, 48, of Mamou was driving a 1996 Saturn east on I-10 when he ran off the road to the left, over-corrected, and re-entered the roadway, police said in a release.


The Saturn crossed both lanes as it rotated clockwise and ran off the road to the right, striking several trees along the right shoulder of the roadway, according to police, before the vehicle came to rest on its roof along the tree line.


Reed was not restrained when the crash occurred and was pronounced deceased on the scene by the Ascension Parish Coroner’s Office, troopers said.


Police suspect Reed was impaired at the time of the crash and have submitted a sample of his blood to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for chemical analysis.


Troopers remind the public that impaired drivers account for nearly half of all fatal crashes in Louisiana. Unrestrained occupants have a much higher rate of serious injuries and deaths when involved in crashes, especially in rollover crashes, police said. The safest place to be in a rollover crash is inside the vehicle.