IBERVILLE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi is calling on the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to study a section of LA 1 due to numerous wrecks and pedestrian fatalities in recent years.
“It’s just an uncommonly dark area,” Stassi said. “Even though there’s some street lights, it’s not well lit. There’s no sidewalks through here and because of the restaurant here, the people that live in the trailer park and the hotel, there’s a lot of pedestrian movement here.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 6, the sheriff sent a letter to DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson requesting a study be done on LA 1 South between its intersection with LA 75 and LA 992-3. The sheriff says there have been at least seven wrecks involving pedestrians along that stretch of highway in the last three years.
“I’d like them to come down and look at the lighting,” he said. “Maybe it’s the sidewalks, maybe a caution light, or maybe a pedestrian crossing marked zone could make the people more aware.”
Sheriff Stassi says Iberville is a “semi-rural" parish and many residents walk or bike in order to get around. In the letter, the sheriff also asks that DOTD request from Louisiana State Police the number of fatal or serious wrecks that have happened in this section of highway in the last ten years.
For the people who live and work along this stretch of highway, close calls are a daily occurrence.
“A lot of times, people are just trying to run just to get across,” said Trisitn Morales, an employee at the NAPA Auto Parts at LA 1 and Luckey Street. “I see a lot of them as I’m trying to come back in just doing the sign of the cross, just thanking God they made it across.”
Morales says everyday, there’s a constant reminder of how dangerous this stretch of highway can be, pointing out the paint still on the road from investigators after the last death.
“It’s hard walking out here, every time I look at this highway knowing that someone my coworkers went to school with and someone I’ve served personally working at NAPA lost his life just trying to get across the road,” she said.
For now, she says she hopes DOTD does something to make the highway safer.
“Just like a caution light or a pedestrian crossing, anything to help these people," she said.
Read the full letter below.