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A Louisiana State Police vehicle is pictured in this Advocate file photo.

An Iberville Parish man died Sunday after the tractor-trailer he was driving in Ascension Parish left the road and hit a tree, Louisiana State Police said.

John Gray, 43, of Plaquemine, wasn't wearing a seatbelt when the 2021 Western Star tractor-trailer he was driving south on La. 1 swerved from the highway, ejecting him from the vehicle, state police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A state police spokesperson said Sunday that troopers obtained a toxicology sample from Gray. The agency also implored people to drive with care around the holidays, noting Gray's death was already the third attributed to unrestrained driving in a single day.

"As the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day holidays approach us, please take a moment to put the safety of you and your loved ones ahead of everything else," spokesman Taylor Scrantz said in a news release.

"Aside from sound decisions behind the wheel, speak to your family and friends about the consequences of impaired driving," Scrantz added. "Remind them that putting on a seatbelt greatly reduces the chances of being killed or seriously injured in a crash."

James Finn writes for The Advocate as a Report For America corps member. Email him at JFinn@theadvocate.com or follow him on Twitter @RJamesFinn.

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