Unrestrained driver dies after striking tree on Interstate 10

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A Baton Rouge man died in an early-morning crash Friday on Interstate 10 in Ascension Parish, according to Louisiana State Police spokesperson Russell Graham.

The incident marks the fourth fatal crash of the year for Troop A, Graham said.

In Friday’s crash, Graham reported 19-year-old David James Jr. was driving a 2000 Honda Accord west on Interstate 10 west of Hwy. 73 just before 2 a.m. when, for unknown reasons, he abruptly steered off the road to the right. The vehicle rotated as it left the roadway and struck a tree with the driver’s side, Graham said.

James was not wearing a seatbelt and was trapped in the vehicle, according to Graham, and he later died from his injuries.

Troopers do not suspect alcohol to be a factor in the crash. Graham said a blood sample has been taken and submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for chemical analysis.

Graham further reported a troubling trend around the state in the lack of seatbelt use.

“Wearing a seatbelt greatly improves chances of survival in crashes and greatly decreases the risk of serious injuries to the person not wearing the seatbelt as well as any other occupants or bystanders involved in a crash,” Graham said.

While seatbelt use is on the rise in Louisiana and around the country, State Police will continue to strictly enforce Louisiana’s seatbelt law in an effort to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries sustained by unrestrained drivers and occupants involved in crashes, Graham said.