St. Charles Herald-Guide

Police say speed factor in 2 fatal crashes

By Jonathan Menard - June 14, 2012

Two fatal crashes, one in Paradis and another in Norco, are being blamed on high speeds, according to the Louisiana State Police.

On Saturday, a woman was killed and a man was seriously injured on Highway 90 near Scott Lane in Paradis. Authorities say that Louis Langlinais III, 45, of New Iberia, was speeding westbound down the highway when he lost control of his truck and hit a raised driveway.

The vehicle flipped several times and Langlinais, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown from the vehicle. He was transported to LSU Interim Public Hospital where he remains in critical condition.

A passenger in Langlinaisí truck, Crystal Hardy, 39, of Youngsville, died in the crash. She was wearing her seat belt.

Driver impairment is unknown and toxicology results are pending. Speed is suspected as a contributing factor and the crash remains under investigation.

Three days earlier on June 6, a 24-year-old Houma man died in Norco when he lost control of his vehicle while driving on Airline Highway.

Authorities say that Ryan Murtha was driving his 2004 Nissan 350Z in the right lane heading north at a high rate of speed when he attempted to move into the left lane to avoid another vehicle.

Murtha lost control of his car, struck the raised median and traveled approximately 500 feet. Murtha then over corrected, which caused the car to rotate and strike the guardrail.

The guardrail penetrated the driverís door.

Murtha, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead on the scene. Toxicology reports are pending.

"Nationally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), speeding is a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes," Trooper spokeswoman Melissa Matey said. "Numerous factors are taken into consideration when deciding on a speed limit. Some of those include lane and shoulder width, vertical alignment, super elevation and curve radius. Troopers witness firsthand the devastating effects in motor vehicle crashes caused by speeding."