POSTED: Sunday, May 27, 2012 - 9:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, May 27, 2012 - 9:04pm
TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA — On Sunday, May 27 shortly after 2:00 p.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L discovered a fatal crash scene hidden in the tree line along Interstate 55 south of Ponchatoula. Troopers made the discovery after receiving information from a passing motorist who observed vehicle wreckage in the trees along the west side of the interstate.
Upon further examination of the vehicle and deceased driver, identified as Darren Elwin, 31, of Metairie, investigators estimated the crash took place approximately 12-15 hours earlier. The crash scene was discovered on the west side of the interstate 3.5 miles south of the LA 22 / Ponchatoula exit.
Troopers’ preliminary investigation revealed that the crash occurred as Elwin was traveling southbound on Interstate 55 when his vehicle ran off road to the right for unknown reasons. As Elwin’s vehicle, a 2008 Lexus 350, left the roadway, it overturned several times and came to rest deep in the tree line nearly 350 feet from the paved roadway. Investigators suspect that the Lexus was traveling at a high rate of speed prior to leaving the road.
Elwin was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and was removed from the scene by the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office. Impairment is unknown at this time pending the results of a toxicology exam.
While the crash remains under investigation, the lack of proper seatbelt use and driver impairment steadily remain common factors in the majority of fatal and serious injury crashes across our state.
Troopers statewide are currently participating in the annual “Click It or Ticket” Initiative and will be proactively seeking unrestrained drivers and their passengers. Louisiana law requires all occupants to be properly restrained at all times regardless of seating position. While not all crashes are survivable, occupants who are properly restrained have a far greater chance to survive a serious crash.