HAMMOND, LA — This morning shortly after 7:00am, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a two vehicle fatal crash that took the life of Christopher Kelley, 22, of Walker. The crash occurred on LA 443 approximately half a mile north of U.S. 190 in Tangipahoa Parish.
Troopers’ investigation revealed that Kelley was operating his 2007 Yamaha motorcycle southbound on LA 443 when a 1999 Cadillac Escalade, traveling north, made a left turn onto Magazine Street directly into the path of Kelley’s bike. As the Cadillac turned across the southbound lane of the highway, it was impacted on its right rear side by the motorcycle. After impact, Kelly and the motorcycle fell onto its side and continued in a southerly direction before coming to rest on the northbound shoulder of LA 443.
Kelly was wearing a DOT certified helmet at the time of the crash and was transported to North Oaks Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.
The driver of the Cadillac, Linda Atkins, 49, of Hammond, LA, was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured in the crash. She was subsequently booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on charges of Failure to Yield while Turning Left and Negligent Homicide.
Driver impairment is not suspected for either driver pending toxicology examinations at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.
Troopers are continuing their investigation; however, driver inattention is suspected to be the primary factor leading to the events of the crash. While the dangers of impaired driving and other aggressive driving behaviors are well documented, driver distraction is quickly becoming one of the largest contributing factors in motor vehicle crashes across the country. Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. While distracted driving comes in many forms, from texting and talking on a cell phone, to eating, or simply playing with the radio, the result is often the same.
Troopers urge the public to remain vigilant while driving and avoid distracting activities, especially electronic devices. To report distracted drivers or other hazardous road conditions, motorists can dial *LSP (*577) from your cellular phone to reach the State Police office closest to you.