Unrestrained driver seriously injured in single-vehicle crash, impairment suspected

Unrestrained driver seriously injured in single-vehicle crash, impairment suspected

POSTED: Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 10:30am

UPDATED: Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 10:34am

Louisiana State Police Troop A investigated a single-vehicle crash early this morning that left the unrestrained driver with life-threatening injuries. The crash occurred on LA 431 east of US 61 shortly before 2:30 a.m. Troopers, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, and first responders were on scene for several hours.

Troopers’ preliminary investigation revealed that Patrick Neal Dwane, 25, of Gonzales was driving a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse north on LA 431 when the vehicle ran off the roadway to the right. The vehicle continued off the roadway until it struck a culvert.

Dwane was not restrained, was trapped in the vehicle, and had to be extricated by emergency responders. He was then transported by “Airmed” to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge with life-threatening injuries.

Troopers suspect alcohol to have been a factor in this crash, and have charged Dwane with DWI (2nd Offense), careless operation, no seatbelt, and failure to register the motor vehicle. Troopers have also submitted a sample of Dwane’s blood to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for chemical analysis.

Impaired driving and lack of seatbelt use continue to be two of the leading causes of fatal and serious injury crashes across the state. Troopers strongly urge motorists to buckle up every time they get into a vehicle and to make better decisions before getting behind the wheel. The numbers of serious injuries and deaths caused by impaired drivers has been significantly reduced in recent years, but there is still a long way to go. Troopers intend to see this number continue to decrease by continuing enforcement and education efforts in every Troop across the state.

Just yesterday, St. Amant High School participated in “Consequences of Impact”, a mock crash designed to show students the dangers of impaired and distracted driving and the importance of seat belt use. Troopers partnered with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, St. Amant Fire Department, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Church Funeral Services to put the mock crash together. During the event, students and their parents played roles as victims of the crash. One of the students played the role of a passenger who was unrestrained when the crash occurred. In the script, this student sustained life-threatening injuries and had to be extricated from the vehicle after her body was thrown violently forward and crushed under the dashboard following a head-on collision. Law enforcement officers and first responders see this scenario played out in real life too often, and it can be all be avoided by simply making good decisions.

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