A 48-year-old Thibodaux man died after his vehicle crashed into the Des Allemands bridge rail, flipped over it and fell 28 feet to the ground below, according to Louisiana State Police.
According to the preliminary investigation, Garrett Russ was traveling west on Highway 90 in the right lane on Wednesday when his Ford Ranger struck the bridge rail for unknown reasons. The Ford continued along the bridge rail for 259 feet, then flipped over the rail and fell to the ground below.
Authorities said that Russ was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and was partially ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Impairment and speed do not seem to have caused the crash, but State Police are awaiting toxicology results from the autopsy.
"Seat belts are the most effective safety feature available in vehicles today. When a seat belt is worn correctly, it will apply most of the collision or stopping forces across the chest and pelvis, which are better able to withstand collision forces," Melissa Matey, State Police spokeswoman, said. "Wearing a seat belt loosely or placing the shoulder belt under the arm or behind your back could result in an injury-producing impact with the vehicle interior or ejection from the vehicle. Wearing a lap belt across the stomach, instead of low across the hips, allows collision forces to be applied to the soft tissue of the body, increasing the chance of injury.
"While not all crashes are survivable, the proper use of seat belts can greatly decrease an occupant’s chance of death and may greatly reduce the extent of injury."