Speed Suspected Factor in St. James Parish Fatal Crash

Published 2:47 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Convent – This morning, shortly after 6:30 a.m., Troopers with Louisiana State Police Troop A began investigating a single-vehicle crash on LA 44 at Oak Tree Street in St. James Parish. The crash ultimately claimed the life of 19-year-old Drake Ryan Upton of Lafayette.

The preliminary investigation revealed that Upton was driving a 2019 Ford F-150 headed south on LA 44.  For reasons still being investigated, Upton failed to negotiate a left hand curve, traveled off the road to the right, overcorrected and traveled off the road to the left.  Subsequently, he struck a tree and his vehicle overturned.

Upton was not restrained at the time of the crash and was ejected from the Ford.  He suffered critical injuries was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died.  As part of the ongoing investigation, a toxicology sample was obtained from Upton and will be submitted for analysis.  This crash remains under investigation.

Speeding can increase your chances of being severely injured or killed in a crash.  When speeding, you are more likely to lose control and your ability to react to or avoid a roadway hazard is severely diminished.  While not all crashes are survivable, statistics demonstrate that properly worn restraints can significantly reduce your risk of being injured or killed in a crash. Louisiana law requires that every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, always remain buckled up. Properly wearing your seat belt is one of the most effective ways to save your life and reduce injuries in crashes.