KAPLAN, La. (KLFY) – A Lake Arthur man was killed after multiple vehicles crashed near Kaplan due to smoke obscuring the highway.

According to Louisiana State Police, troopers were notified of a multi-vehicle crash around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.  The initial investigation revealed a farming operation was burning field edges near Hwy. 14. west of W. Pirates Lane in Vermilion Parish. As the smoke from the fires accumulated, it blocked the  vision of drivers on the roadway. Within a short time, two separate but related crashes occurred. With the roadway blocked, a third crash happened that resulted in a fatality.

Investigators determined the third crash happened when a Ford Mustang was traveling west on LA 14 when he rear-ended a Peterbilt Single Unit Delivery Tanker, which was stopped in the roadway due to the previous crashes. The Mustang was then rear-ended by a pickup truck. Upon impact, the Mustang was crushed between the Peterbilt tanker and the pickup. 

The driver of the Mustang, Erin Mathew LaPoint, 26 of Lake Arthur was pronounced dead at the scene. LaPoint was not wearing a seatbelt. The driver of the Peterbilt was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured. The driver of the pickup truck was also not injured, despite not wearing a seatbelt.

Toxicology samples were obtained from LaPoint for analysis. The drivers of the Peterbilt and pickup truck both submitted breath samples, which showed no alcohol present and neither driver showed signs of impairment. This crash remains under investigation.