BURNSIDE — A 5-year-old Sorrento boy was killed Monday morning after he was partially ejected from his father’s pickup truck in a crash on La. 44 in Ascension Parish, State Police said.
Anthony K. Andrews, 30, of Sorrento, lost control of his 1999 Chevrolet truck while traveling north on La. 44 south of Loosemore Road, State Police Troop A spokesman Jared Sandifer said in a news release.
For unknown reasons, Andrews failed to negotiate a left-hand curve, and his vehicle ran off the roadway to the right, Sandifer said. After leaving the roadway, Andrews attempted to steer his vehicle back onto the roadway, causing it to roll, Sandifer said.
Troopers initially believed that Makell Andrews, 5, was unrestrained at the time of the one-vehicle crash, Sandifer said. However, further investigation revealed that the child was not properly restrained in a child restraint in the pickup, and was partially ejected, causing fatal injuries, Sandifer said.
Driver impairment is not suspected at this time; however, a toxicology sample from Anthony Andrews has been submitted to the State Police Crime Lab in Baton Rouge for analysis, Sandifer said. Andrews has not been cited, Sandifer said, and likely will not be cited in the wreck.
Parish Councilman Kent Schexnaydre, who lives on Donaldson Drive near the site of the wreck, said that part of the highway has become a danger zone and improvements to La. 44 are long overdue.
“It’s just a terrible tragedy,” Schexnaydre said. “It’s a terrible thing to happen to a family.”
Schexnaydre said local officials spoke to DOTD officials about widening La. 44 and adding shoulders when it was resurfaced about five years ago. However, he said, DOTD didn’t have the money in its budget.
In addition, Schexnaydre said, the speed limit recently was increased on the two-lane highway from 45 mph to 55 mph, which has led to more wrecks. Last week, he said, there were three wrecks, and he knows two people were killed near the Panama Canal bridge at the Pelican Point subdivision.
“In my opinion, it’s the most dangerous road in the parish and maybe around south Louisiana,” Schexnaydre said. “It’s barely 11 feet across per lane, and there is absolutely not one inch of shoulder. There’s ruts on each side, and if you miss off the edge of the road at all, then it’s too hard to adjust and come back. People overadjust and they skid off.”
DOTD spokeswoman Jodi Conachen said La. 44 is being reviewed for potential improvements, including “supplemental signage to draw drivers’ attention to the curve.”
“We are also planning to conduct a Road Safety Assessment for this area, which will gather input from local officials and legislators, local and State Police, the Federal Highway Administration and DOTD personnel to determine any existing safety-related needs and identify opportunities for low-cost safety enhancements to address those needs,” Conachen said.