Troopers investigate three serious injury motorcycle crashes in one day
On April 21, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop A investigated three crashes involving motorcycles that resulted in multiple serious injuries. The first crash occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. on US Hwy 61 at Duplessis Rd. in Ascension Parish. The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as 45 year old Ovilso Romero of Raleigh, NC was driving a 2013 Dodge Avenger northbound on US Hwy 61. At the same time, 25 year old Matthew Anders of Gonzales was driving a 2006 Suzuki motorcycle southbound on US Hwy 61. Romero turned off of US Hwy 61 to travel west on Duplessis Rd. Upon turning, Romero's Avenger was struck by Anders' motorcycle.
Anders suffered serious injuries as a result of the crash. Driver impairment is not suspected at this time; however, Troopers have submitted a toxicology sample both from Romero and Anders to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. Excessive speed on the part of Anders may have been a factor in this crash.
DUTCHTOWN – The second crash was a hit and run which occurred shortly before 2:30 p.m. on LA Hwy 74 west of LA Hwy 73 in Ascension Parish. The initial investigation revealed that the crash occurred as an unknown individual was driving a 2002 Chrysler minivan westbound on LA Hwy 74. At the same time, 49 year old Thomas Bates of Baton Rouge was driving a 1999 Yamaha motorcycle eastbound on LA Hwy 74. The driver of the Chrysler turned off of LA Hwy 74 to travel south on Louis White Rd. Upon turning, Bates' motorcycle struck the minivan, causing him moderate injuries. The driver of the Chrysler fled the scene; however, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Deputies were later able to locate the vehicle, but all occupants had fled on foot. This crash remains under investigation.
PRIDE – The third crash occurred shortly after 6:30 p.m. on LA Hwy 409 (Liberty Rd.) near Port Hudson-Pride Rd. in East Baton Rouge Parish. The initial investigation revealed that the crash occurred as 56 year old Michael Harriel of Ethel was driving a 2008 Harley Davidson motorcycle southbound on LA Hwy 409. Harriel failed to negotiate a left hand curve, ran off the roadway to the right and struck a bridge railing. Harriel suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the crash. Driver impairment and excessive speed are suspected to be factors in this crash. Troopers have submitted a toxicology sample to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
Whether impaired through alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two, the consequences of driving while impaired remain the same. Louisiana State Troopers remind drivers that impaired driving continues to be a major problem throughout Louisiana. Troopers will continue to enforce Louisiana's DWI laws across the state and remain committed to a public education campaign to end impaired driving. Have a plan and designate a driver before you decide to operate a vehicle while impaired.
According to statistics from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, in 2012 motorcyclists were involved in over 2100 crashes across the state resulting in 75 fatalities. Troopers urge motorcyclists of all ages and experience levels to take extra precautions while riding and ensure that they are properly prepared and trained for a variety of riding conditions. Through participation in certified training programs, riders are educated on safe riding practices such as being visible, dressing for safety, applying effective riding strategies, and knowing the capabilities and limitations of their bike. Motorcyclists are taught how to apply these safety practices to not only avoid being involved in a crash but to greatly reduce the chance of injury should a crash occur.
Motorcycle riders can find more information on helmet guidelines and rider safety courses by visiting http://lahighwaysafety.org/motorcycle.html.