WASHINGTON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L responded on Monday afternoon to a two-vehicle fatal crash on LA 10 east of Franklinton. The driver of a log truck, 30 year-old Christopher Rex Blansett of Sumrall, MS, was killed when the logs he was hauling crashed through the cab of his vehicle.
The initial on-scene investigation led troopers to determine that the crash occurred as 36-year-old April Bertoniere of Bogalusa was driving a 2004 Ford Explorer eastbound on LA 10. For reasons still under investigation, Bertoniere was traveling at a slow rate of speed and was partially on the right shoulder and partially in the eastbound lane. Christopher Blansett was driving a log truck eastbound on LA 10 approaching Bertoniere's Explorer. Blansett entered the westbound lane in an attempt to pass the Explorer. Soon after, as Blansett entered the westbound lane, troopers say Bertoniere abruptly turned left from the shoulder to enter a private drive on the westbound side of the roadway. Blansett aggressively applied the brakes in an attempt to avoid crashing into Bertoniere. Due to Blansett's aggressive braking, investigators say the load he was hauling shifted, slid forward, and pushed through the cab of the tractor.
Blansett was fatally wounded in the crash. He pronounced deceased on-scene by the Washington Parish Coroner's Office. Bertoniere's vehicle was not hit and she was not injured in the crash. All drivers were wearing their seat belts and alcohol is not suspected to have been a contributing factor. Bertoniere provided Troopers with a voluntary breath sample, which showed no amount of alcohol present. As part of the ongoing investigation, Troopers did obtain a blood sample from Blansett. As with all fatal crash investigations, the sample will be sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. As the crash investigation progresses, any violations of Louisiana Law will be forwarded to the Washington Parish District Attorney's Office for prosecution.