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Louisiana fatal accident: Did driver fall asleep at the wheel?

Louisiana State Police are warning drivers about a recent accident involving two cars where sleep impairment may have been a factor. The fatal accident is believed to have been caused by one driver drifting off to sleep before veering into an oncoming lane. Troopers have warned drivers that sleep deprivation can be equally as dangerous as intoxication, and that taking rests to get out and stretch may save lives.

A car carrying two people was headed westbound through Ragley when an oncoming vehicle crossed over into their lane. Preliminary reports suggest the other driver, a 59-year-old DeQuincy resident, may have fallen asleep at the wheel prior to the accident. Blood darws were taken from both drivers as a matter of routine, and arrangements were being made to obtain toxicology reports to determine if any impairments played a role in this fatal accident.

The occupants of the westbound car were said to be 71 years old and Texas residents. The female passenger died at the scene of the crash. She was sitting in the front passenger seat and was wearing a seat belt. The driver had to be extricated from the vehicle and was transported to a local hospital for treatment of unspecified moderate injuries. The other driver suffered moderate injuries as well.

The surviving family of the deceased woman, as well as the driver of the car she was in, have the right to pursue claims for wrongful death and personal injury under Louisiana law. In order to prevail, it will be necessary to prove that the death and injuries in this fatal accident directly resulted from the negligent actions of the other driver. Police reports reveal that the other driver was charged at the scene with driving left of the center line. If that charge results in a conviction, proof of it may be offered as evidence in a related civil proceeding in an attempt to establish financial liability for the consequences of the tragedy.

Source: beauregarddailynews.net, "Fatality in Ragley," Linda Barron, Oct. 22, 2012