EVANGELINE PARISH- Early Sunday morning, Troopers with Louisiana State Police Troop I investigated a crash on LA Highway 757 at Cut Across Road which has claimed the life of a 15-year-old Basile boy.
According to investigating Troopers, at 3:42 a.m., 15-year-old Matthew Neal of Basile was driving a 2008 Honda four-wheeler south on LA Highway 757. A 2008 Ford F-150, driven by 21-year-old Jonathan Tucker of Eunice, was approaching Neal from behind. Troopers noted that Neal's all terrain vehicle (ATV) was not equipped with functioning lights. As Tucker approached the ATV, he steered left in an attempt to avoid hitting it. For reasons still under investigation, Neal also steered left and Tucker struck Neal's ATV from behind.
Neither Neal nor his 16-year-old passenger were wearing helmets and both were ejected. The 16-year-old was transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries. Neal was transported to a local hospital with life threatening injuries. Shortly before 1:00 p.m. Neal succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Tucker was wearing a seat belt and was not injured in the crash.
It is unknown if impairment was a factor in this crash; however, routine toxicology samples were obtained and will be submitted to the State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
This crash remains under investigation.
Troopers remind ATV operators about the importance of wearing a helmet when riding an ATV. Appropriate helmets can help to reduce injuries sustained to riders in the event of a crash. Information about Louisiana State Law regarding ATV operation on public roadways can be found at http://legis.la.gov/lss/lss.asp?doc=88237.
Last year, 62% of the fatal crashes investigated by Troop I involved some form of impairment. While results are still pending in this crash, Troopers remind drivers about the dangers of impaired driving. Even after having just one drink, decision making abilities are hindered. Make the responsible decision every time, don't drink and drive.