Troopers urge caution on roads after deadly weekend crashes

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A trip down LA 77 in Pointe Coupee Parish ended up being a deadly ride for Hunter Kirkland, 18, of Morganza on Sunday, as the truck he was driving swerved and hit a utility pole.

"Just get to where you're going safely," said Trooper Jared Sandifer of Louisiana State Police.

Sandifer added the fatality came six days after a single-car crash on 4-H Club Road in Livingston Parish took the life of Brice Harris, also 18.

"Especially during the holiday season, during the Christmas season, we see a rise in accidents like this," said Sandifer. "People make choices to drive impaired or distracted and people just need to slow down and make good decisions before they get behind the wheel of a vehicle."

The third fatality in a week's time in the area came early Saturday morning as a 5-year-old autistic boy from Baton Rouge was hit and killed along US 190 in West Baton Rouge Parish. The accident has authorities looking for the driver of the vehicle that was traveling westbound.

Adding to the danger during this high travel season is the increased number of people driving under the influence. It's a scenario Sandifer said exists despite added patrols and sobriety checkpoints.

"For whatever reason, people like to go out, have drinks and get behind the wheel of a car. We just ask that people be smart, have a designated driver and have a plan," said Sandifer.

Sandifer urges drivers to always be on alert.

"Just because you're doing everything right on the road doesn't mean everyone else is so just remain vigilant out there," added Sandifer.

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