Impairment Suspected in Serious Injury Crash

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Update:  Troopers’ continued investigation has revealed that the impaired driver, Barney Smith, was not restrained at the time of last night’s crash.  He was seriously injured and had to be extracted from the vehicle by first responders and volunteer firefighters.  The crash remains under investigation.

Louisiana State Police Troop A investigated a serious injury crash last night in East Baton Rouge Parish.  The crash occurred on LA 64 at US 61 shortly after midnight and resulted in critical injuries of a suspected impaired driver.

Troopers’ preliminary investigation revealed that Richard Hayes (B/M, age 35) of Mount Olive, MS was driving a 1991 Peterbuilt log truck west on LA 64 when he slowed for the red light at US 61.  As the truck slowed, it was struck from behind by a 1998 Honda Accord, being driven by Barney Smith, Jr (W/M, age 59) of Jackson.  There were logs extending beyond the rear of the trailer that the Accord struck.  All required lighting and flags were properly displayed on the rear of the trailer.  Smith sustained life-threatening injuries in the crash and was transported to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital by Baton Rouge EMS.   

Troopers suspect that Smith was impaired at the time of the crash, and have submitted samples of his blood and urine to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for chemical analysis.  Hayes was not impaired, was not injured, and was able to drive his vehicle away from the scene after the on-scene investigation was complete.

Drinking and driving continues to be a serious problem across the state.  Troopers have seen, first hand, the devastating effects that impaired driving has on everyone involved.  The impaired driver doesn’t only affect the victims of a crash and their loved ones, but also his or her family and friends.  Most crashes are avoidable, and many times impairment is the primary cause of the crash.  Last year in Louisiana, nearly half of the fatal crashes across the state involved impaired drivers.  Troopers strongly urge motorists to think before they drink and have a plan in place.  By designating a driver, calling a cab, or having another viable plan in place, everyone can help law enforcement’s fight against impaired driving.  Please report impaired drivers or hazardous road conditions by dialing *LSP (577) from your mobile phone to ring the Troop nearest your location.