TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Louisiana State Police are investigating a two-vehicle crash that claimed the life of a Hammond man Thursday afternoon.
The crash happened just after 1 p.m. on I-55 north of LA 40 in Tangipahoa Parish.
State Police say that an initial investigation revealed that 34-year Carlton W. Walker of Roseland, LA was driving a 2007 Kia Sportage northbound on I-55 in the right lane when traffic began to slow down because of congestion. For reasons unknown, Walker failed to slow down causing him to crash into the back of a 2012 Volvo Tractor-Trailer.
As a result of the crash, Walker's front seat passenger, 56-year-old Michael R. Varnado, was severely injured in the crash. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner's Office. Walker and another passenger in the vehicle, 40-year-old Melanie Mathis, were both transported to North Oaks Health System with moderate injuries.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, 50-year-old Wesley Moody of Hattiesburg, MS was not injured in the crash.
State Police do not believe impairment played a part in the crash but as a part of the on-going investigation, a blood sample was taken from Walker and will be submitted to the State Police Crime Lab for analysis. Moody submitted a voluntary breath sample to State Troopers which showed no signs of alcohol present.
The crash remains under investigation. Pending the outcome of the investigation, any criminal charges will be sent to the Tangipahoa Parish District Attorney's Office.