A Louisiana Department of Public Safety officer died in a car crash Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 12 westbound east of La. 441 near Albany, said Trooper Russell Graham of State Police.

The officer was Cpl. John Kendall, 63, Graham said.

Kendall was traveling east on I-12 when he crossed over the median, hit the rear of an 18-wheeler, then was hit by a one-ton pickup pulling a trailer, Graham said.

Graham said he was not sure how Kendall lost control of his car.

Eyewitnesses said Kendall appeared disoriented in his car as he passed them, State Police superintendent Col. Michael Edmonson said.

Kendall was working as an officer with Capitol Police before his death, Graham said.

Kendall previously served as a sergeant with Troop L in Mandeville for more than 20 years, Edmonson said.

Kendall “epitomizes what a police officer stands for,” Edmonson said.

“This is a sad day for the public safety family,” Edmonson said.

Kendall’s son Joseph also is a retired State Police trooper, Edmonson said.