BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Louisiana State Police remind families to use safety and personal responsibility while heading to holiday family gatherings. Two wrecks, one on Wednesday evening, the other Thursday morning, left five people dead in Iberia and Plaquemines Parishes.
State troopers said taking simple precautions like never driving while impaired, fatigued, or distracted and ensuring all occupants are properly restrained can often mean the difference between life and death.
The first fatal crash took place shortly after 6 p.m. on LA 14 West of U.S. 90 in Iberia Parish. State troopers said the three-vehicle crash killed an uncle and his nephew from Abbeville, La.
The investigation revealed that the crash occurred as Ernest Comesana Jr., 29 of Crowley, was driving a 2007 Peterbilt 18-wheeler east on La 14. As he began to make a left turn through a crossover to head west on La. 14, two motorcyclists were traveling west on La. 14 approaching the crossover. The two motorcyclists, operated by Jones Mitchell, 45, and Gerald Mitchell, 25, struck the tractor trailer as it made the turn.
Investigators say Comesana was using proper restraints and was not injured. Jones and Gerald Mitchell were wearing approved helmets, but suffered fatal injuries.
Shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday morning, state police investigators said three people were killed in Plaquemines Parish on Parish Road 11 in Port Sulphur, La. The single-vehicle crash resulted in the deaths of the vehicle's driver and two occupants.
Investigators say a 2012 Jaguar XF was traveling north when the vehicle entered a left curve. The driver lost control and ran off the road to the right, according to state police. The car went through a ditch, struck a tree and burst into flames. None of the occupants were able to escape.
"While our heartfelt condolences go out to the grieving families this holiday, we urge that everyone remember the importance of simple safety precautions while traveling," said State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson. "No matter your destination, please always pay attention behind the wheel, obey all traffic laws, never drive impaired, and always buckle up."