A Louisiana State Trooper was injured when he was rear-ended by a drunk driver last night on Interstate 10 in West Baton Rouge Parish. The Trooper was taken to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries and the drunk driver was arrested and booked into the West Baton Rouge Parish Detention Center on several charges.
Two Troopers were assisting with a “striping detail” in the outside travel lane of Interstate 10 westbound near milepost 144 in West Baton Rouge Parish shortly before 1:00 am this morning when the crash occurred. Trooper Joseph Nations was stopped in the outside travel lane with his emergency lights activated with two crash trucks positioned behind him. Both crash trucks had their traffic warning arrows activated, advising motorists to move into the inside lane of I-10 westbound. Joseph Harris, (B/M, age 48) of Rosedale, was driving a 2003 Dodge pickup west on I-10 in the inside travel lane when he passed the crash trucks, changed lanes, and struck the rear of Trooper Nations’ fully-marked State Police vehicle.
Immediately following the crash, Harris exited his vehicle and attempted to walk away from the scene. Troopers stopped Harris from leaving the scene and he became combative. Troopers gained control of Harris and arrested him. Troopers transported him to the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail and booked him on charges of DWI, vehicular negligent injuring, reckless operation, and resisting arrest. At the jail, Harris submitted a breath sample to Troopers that showed he had nearly three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.
Trooper Nations was transported to a Baton Rouge hospital, where he was treated for non life-threatening injuries and released early this morning. “We are very thankful that Trooper Nations did not sustain more serious injuries in this crash,” said Captain Frank Ducote, Troop A Commander. “While the outcome could have been far worse, I am happy to report that Trooper Nations is home today with his family. There is no excuse for impaired drivers to be on our roadways, and we will continue to work hard to get them off our roadways before they injure or kill innocent people because of their poor choices.”
The decision to drink and drive is ALWAYS a terrible decision. According to the Louisiana State University Highway Safety Research Group, impaired drivers were responsible for nearly half the fatal crashes in Louisiana in 2011. Even a small amount of alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to react quickly and can mean the difference between life and death. While there were fewer fatal and serious injury crashes in Louisiana last year than in previous years, Louisiana State Police is committed to continue to reduce serious injuries and deaths through education and enforcement programs across the state. Troopers would like to remind motorists of three very important safety tips regarding impaired driving. 1. Never drive a vehicle while impaired. 2. Never get into a vehicle with an impaired driver. 3. Call *LSP (577) from your cell phone to report dangerous, aggressive, or impaired drivers.