ROBERT, LA — On Monday, Sept. 17 shortly before 1:00 p.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a two vehicle fatal crash on I-12 approximately two miles west of the LA 445 / Robert exit. The crash took the life of an infant passenger and resulted in moderate to serious injuries to three additional occupants.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the crash occurred as a 2009 Freightliner delivery truck was traveling east on I-12 in the right lane. Ahead of the Freightliner was a 2006 Dodge Stratus disabled and parked on the right paved shoulder with its emergency flashers activated.
As the Freightliner delivery truck proceeded eastbound, its driver, Louis Breaux, 37, of Diamondhead, MS, failed to maintain control of the vehicle causing it to drift onto the paved shoulder and impact the parked Dodge Stratus. The Freightliner impacted the right rear bumper of the Dodge with its left front fender.
After impact, the Dodge Stratus rotated in a counterclockwise manner crossing both eastbound lanes of I-12 and coming to rest in the center grass median. The Freightliner continued forward after impact running off the paved shoulder into the grass. As the Freightliner proceeded off road, Breaux overcorrected to the left forcing the delivery truck to cross both eastbound lanes and run off road for a second time on the north side of the roadway.
The driver of the Dodge Stratus, Rachel Anglin, 22, of Mobile, AL, and a 2 year old male passenger in the left rear seat were transported to St. Tammany Parish Hospital with moderate injuries. The front seat passenger in the Dodge, Rebecca Blackwood, 48, of Duncan, OK, was transported to North Oaks Medical Center in serious condition. The right rear passenger, 1 year old infant Ethan Day, received fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office.
Impairment is not suspected pending the results of a toxicology exam.
Breaux was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and refused medical treatment at the scene. He submitted to a breath alcohol test showing no detectable signs of alcohol in his system.
Breaux was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail charged with Careless Operation of a Motor Vehicle, 3 counts of Negligent Injuring, and 1 count of Negligent Homicide.
Troopers are continuing their investigation; however, driver inattention is suspected to be the primary factor leading to the events of the crash. While the dangers of impaired driving and other aggressive driving behaviors are well documented, driver distraction is quickly becoming one of the largest contributing factors in motor vehicle crashes across the country. Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. While distracted driving comes in many forms, from texting and talking on a cell phone, to eating, or simply playing with the radio, the result is often the same.
Troopers urge the public to remain vigilant while driving and avoid distracting activities, especially electronic devices. To report distracted drivers or other hazardous road conditions, motorists can dial *LSP (*577) from your cellular phone to reach the State Police office closest to you.