Passenger Dies in Single-Vehicle Crash in St. Martin Parish

Published 4:37 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2022

St. Martin Parish – Shortly after 12:00 a.m. on September 21, 2022, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop I were notified of a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 eastbound near mile post 114 (between Breaux Bridge and Henderson) in St. Martin Parish. The crash took the life of 25-year-old Karalan Hayes of Lake Charles.
The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as Hayes was riding as a passenger in a 2011 Ford Fusion. The driver of the Fusion, Austin Lee of Lake Charles, struck a guardrail on the right side of I-10. The crash caused damage to the passenger side door where Hayes was located in the vehicle.
Troopers determined Hayes, Lee, and a minor child were all restrained at the time of the crash. Hayes was transported to a local hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. The male child was not injured. Lee suffered only minor injuries.
Lee was cited for LA RS 32:58 careless operation and a toxicology sample was obtained for analysis; however, impairment was not suspected. Investigators believe driver fatigue may have been a factor in the crash. This crash remains under investigation.
Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists to never driving while fatigued. If you find yourself sleepy behind the wheel, strategies such as pulling off the road to take a short nap or drinking a caffeinated beverage may help. For more information on the dangers associated with drowsy driving and how to combat the issue please visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drowsy-driving
Troop I has investigated 36 fatal crashes resulting in 41 deaths in 2022.