Morgan City Police, who are withholding the name of the 54-year-old man because next of kin has not been notified, said that at about 2:05 a.m. Thursday, the man was eastbound on La. 182 in a four-door, 2002 Honda Accord just west of the Greenwood Overpass when his vehicle veered across the double yellow no passing lines into the westbound lanes and struck a two door, 1997 Chevy Silverado driven by Eric J. Crochet, 51, of Belanger Street in Morgan City, Chief Marc Folse said.
Upon officers’ arrival following the accident, the driver of the vehicle that allegedly initiated the wreck was trapped inside his car. There was smoke and flames, which appeared to be coming from inside the rear of the vehicle, Folse said.
An officer could not free the driver of the vehicle because it was locked but said the driver still was moving inside the vehicle at the time, the chief said.
The Morgan City Fire Department extinguished the flames and gained access to the driver, who was not responsive and was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene, Folse said.
Crochet was transported to Teche Regional Medical Center in Morgan City and also was cited for first offense driving while intoxicated, the chief said. Although the chief said Crochet was determined to be the not-at-fault driver in the collision, Louisiana law requires all drivers in a serious or fatal injury accident to be tested to determine whether they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the collision.
The chief said Crochet tested at a .199 grams-percent. The department is awaiting results of the autopsy on the deceased before meeting with the district attorney’s office to determine whether to pursue further charges against Crochet, he added.
Crochet remained incarcerated this morning with no bond set.
All lanes in Thursday’s accident were cleared by 4:30 a.m.
Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, a three-vehicle accident at La. 182 and Gilmore Drive in Berwick sent six people to the hospital.
The accident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. when Peter Roberts, 36, of Berwick, who was eastbound on La. 182 in a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse, apparently crossed the center line and struck a 1995 Cadillac Deville, headed westbound and driven by Devon Mitchell, 35, of Franklin, causing Mitchell’s vehicle to strike a 2010 Ford pickup, driven by James Thomas, 41, of Patterson, who was at Gilmore Drive and La. 182 waiting to turn onto the highway.
The drivers, as well as a passenger in each vehicle, were taken to Teche Regional Medical Center in Morgan City. The passengers were Dawn Menard, 30, of Patterson (Robert’s vehicle), Geary Lindsey, 53, of Amelia (Mitchell’s car) and William Toups, 45, of Bayou Vista (Thomas’ truck).
All six sustained unknown injuries and were treated and released.
While Richard said Roberts was suspected of being under the influence, no charges have been filed pending the outcome of toxicology tests.