Victim killed in Walker wreck may have been impaired; ID released

WALKER, LA (WAFB) - One person is dead after a crash on a busy road Tuesday morning in Livingston Parish, according to investigators.

The Walker Police Department reported it happened on Burgess Avenue between Peak Lane and South Palmetto Street in Walker around 7:15 a.m. The wreck left Brandon R. Hatch, 35, of Baton Rouge, dead. Three others, two of them children, sustained moderate injuries in the wreck.

"At approximately 7:15 this morning, Mr. Hatch was traveling east on Burgess Avenue in his 2002 GMC Yukon, when his vehicle crossed the center line of the roadway in a curve just west of Walker High School. Upon entering the westbound lane of Burgess Avenue, Mr. Hatch's vehicle collided with a 2012 Dodge Durango driven by Rebecca L. Thoms, 30, of Walker. Ms. Thoms' sons, ages 9 and 8, were occupants of the Durango," said Captain John Sharp with the Walker Police Department.

Sharp says it appears Hatch died upon impact.

"When our officers arrived at the scene, it was apparent that Mr. Hatch was deceased. The passenger compartment of Mr. Hatch's vehicle was on fire, but using the fire extinguishers from their police vehicles, officers were able to keep the fire contained and away from Mr. Hatch until Fire Protection District 4 arrived and extinguished the blaze," said Sharp. After the fire was put out, firefighters had to extricate Hatch from the vehicle.

Thoms and her two sons were transported to a local hospital. On Wednesday, the Walker Police Department released and update on the condition of Thoms and her boys. They say all three have been released from the hospital and are expected to make a full recovery.

Preliminary results from the investigation show Hatch failed to negotiate the curve. Officials believe Hatch may have been impaired at the time of the wreck and that speed may have been a contributing factor. Autopsy and toxicology results are pending.

"While it is unusual to encounter an impaired motorist so early in the day, this accident shows us that an encounter with an impaired driver can occur anywhere and any time of day. By remaining vigilant for impaired motorists, as well as distracted drivers, at all times of the day, we can be alert and prepared to take evasive action and give ourselves a better chance of avoiding these types of deadly crashes. Having a fatal accident in our Community is always upsetting and this tragedy is no exception. Our prayers are with the Toms family, as well as the Hatch family," said Walker Police Chief David Addison.

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