Unrestrained Driver Killed in St. Helena Parish Crash

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, July 6, 2023

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Pine Grove – This morning, shortly after 4:15 a.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash on LA Hwy 16, near Sibley Road, in St. Helena Parish. The crash claimed the life of 28-year-old Justin Ruiz of Denham Springs.

The initial investigation revealed that a 2007 Honda Civic, driven by Ruiz, was headed westbound on the eastbound shoulder of LA Hwy 16. At the same time, a 2022 Peterbilt 389 was eastbound in the eastbound lane of LA Hwy 16. The Honda then traveled from the shoulder into the eastbound lane and struck the Peterbilt.

Ruiz, who was unrestrained, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased on the scene. The driver of the Peterbilt was properly restrained. The driver of the Peterbilt sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital. As part of the ongoing investigation, routine toxicology samples were obtained from both drivers for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.

While not all crashes are survivable, statistics show that properly wearing your seat belt will dramatically reduce your chance 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.