Impaired Driver Arrested in Fatal Jefferson Parish Crash

Published 10:21 am Friday, December 16, 2022

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Gretna – On December 15, 2022, just before midnight, Troopers with Louisiana State Police Troop B responded to a two-vehicle crash on US 90B upper level near Lafayette Street in Gretna. This crash ultimately claimed the life of 67-year-old Tricia Cook of Gretna.

The initial investigation revealed that 40-year-old Gerald McKnight of Gretna was driving a 2017 Acura MDX west on US 90B upper level near Lafayette Street. At the same time, a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria taxi was traveling in front of the Acura. For reasons still under investigation, as the Ford slowed for traffic congestion, the front of the Acura impacted the rear of the Ford.

Cook, who was unrestrained in the rear seat of the Ford, suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Ford was properly restrained, suffered moderate injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. McKnight was also properly restrained and uninjured in the crash.

During the on scene investigation, McKnight displayed signs of impairment and provided a breath sample which indicated a Blood Alcohol Concentration over the legal limit. McKnight was arrested and booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center for the following charges: Vehicular Homicide, DWI (1st Offense) and Reckless Operation. This crash remains under investigation.

Troopers would like to remind motorists of the importance of safe decisions behind the wheel. Alcohol, prescription medication, and other drugs have many effects on the body that negatively affect driving skills. These drugs can impair visual ability, alter the sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills needed to operate a motor vehicle, and decrease reaction times. If you feel differently, you drive differently. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and designate a sober driver. Not doing so can have deadly consequences. While not all crashes are survivable, wearing a seatbelt greatly reduces the chances of being killed or seriously injured in a crash.