Unrestrained driver dies in Ascension crash

Staff reports

A Walker man died in a two-vehicle crash Monday around 6 a.m. on Hwy. 42 west of Hwy. 44 in Ascension Parish, Louisiana State Police Tpr. Russell Graham said.

Joshua O. Graham, 28, was driving a 1994 GMC pickup east on Hwy. 42 when he struck the rear of a 2007 Ford pickup, according to Graham.

Graham was not wearing a seatbelt, police said. Acadian Ambulance transported him to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, where he later died.

The Ford, driven by 39-year-old Robert M. Ricouard III of Roxie, Miss., had come to a stop in the eastbound lane at Cecil James Road, Graham said.

Ricouard was waiting for oncoming traffic to clear in order to make a left turn, according to police.

Ricouard and his passenger, 32-year-old Rustin E. Carmouche of Gonzales, were both properly restrained, police said.

Ricouard sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene by first responders. Carmouche was not injured.

Graham emphasized the importance of the state law that requires everyone in a vehicle to wear seatbelts. He cited the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission’s statistic that 71 percent of drivers killed in crashes last year in the state were not restrained.

Graham said troopers will continue to enforce the state’s seatbelt laws and educate the public on the importance of seatbelt use.