The initial investigation revealed that the crash occurred as Gatzke was traveling northbound on US Highway 61 on a 2012 Honda CBR motorcycle. At the same time, 48-year-old Lana Byars of Prairieville was traveling southbound on US Hwy 61 in a 2015 Nissan Juke.

Shortly before 6:30 pm on February 1, 2019, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop A began investigating a fatal crash involving a motorcycle on US Highway 61 (Airline Highway) south of LA Highway 948 in East Baton Rouge Parish. The crash took the life of 33-year-old Kyle Gatzke of Baton Rouge.

The initial investigation revealed that the crash occurred as Gatzke was traveling northbound on US Highway 61 on a 2012 Honda CBR motorcycle. At the same time, 48-year-old Lana Byars of Prairieville was traveling southbound on US Highway 61 in a 2015 Nissan Juke. Byars failed to yield and made a left turn across the northbound lanes of travel into the path of Gatzke’s motorcycle. Gatzke’s motorcycle struck the Nissan and he was ejected.

Despite the fact that he was wearing a DOT approved helmet, Gatzke sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash. He was transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries. Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in this crash, but a toxicology sample was taken from Gatzke for analysis. Byars was properly restrained and was not injured. She was given a chemical breath test and showed no signs of impairment. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.

Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists to always make good decisions while in a motor vehicle. Never drive while impaired, fatigued, or distracted, always ensure every occupant is properly restrained, and follow all traffic laws. Taking simple precautions such as these can often mean the difference between life and death.

Contributed by La. State Police