No charges against 15-year-old driver involved in deadly crash - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

No charges brought against 15-year-old driver involved in deadly crash

Independence, La. — State Police continue their investigation into a deadly accident involving a 15-year-old girl who was driving without a license and transporting three younger siblings, most of whom did not have on seat belts.

"This was a survivable crash, if you look at the damage on the vehicle and how the sequence of events happened," said LSP Trooper Nicholas Manale.

Family members are crushed with grief.

The girl, whom authorities are not identifying because of her age, was driving her 12-year-old brother, 10-year-old sister, and 9-year-old brother to baseball practice Monday afternoon when the car drifted off Highway 1054 near Highway 40 in Tangipahoa Parish, according to state police.

State police say the teenager over-corrected to the left, causing the Pontiac Grand Am to rotate counter-clockwise. It landed in a ditch and overturned.

The 12-year-old boy was ejected from the car, along with the 10-year-old girl. She did not survive her injuries, and is identified by authorities as Byronee Jackson of Independence.

"We had that inexperience behind the wheel, plus the other elements to talk about, there's unrestrained children and of course her just losing control of that vehicle," Manale stated.

The 9-year-old child was the only one in the vehicle with a seat belt on and authorities say that kept him from being ejected.

At the family home, the children's grandfather said he was devastated by the tragedy. Neighbors and church members who would not consent to an on-camera interview spoke highly of the 15-year-old driver and the entire family.

According to state police, the teen said she was trying to put on her seatbelt and had instructed her siblings to do the same when the car drifted and she panicked.

While the 15-year-old was behind the steering wheel without a driver's license, state police said they have no reason to believe she was driving impaired. "We don't really expect any type of alcohol or drug impairment," stated Manale.

Once the investigation concludes, State Police will turn over their findings to the Tangipahoa Parish district attorney.

"We certainly have laws in place in our state that don't allow minors to be operating a vehicle, and also hold parents responsible for allowing minors to operate a vehicle. However, in a situation like this when we have a tragedy occurring in the family, where the driver's related to the victim, it's possible we may not see anything come out of it," said Manale.

Manale said everyone can learn a valuable lesson from the tragedy. He said state police are in the midst of a campaign to crack down on people driving without seat belts and those ignoring child restraint laws.

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