One man is dead and another has been arrested following a two-vehicle crash on I-10 west of Jennings early this morning.
Shortly before 4 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, Louisiana State Police Troop D responded to a two-vehicle crash on I-10 eastbound about two miles west of La. 26 in Jeff Davis Parish, said Sgt. James Anderson, State Police spokesman.
The preliminary investigation revealed a 1975 Oldsmobile driven by 30-year-old Rad C. Shabazz of Missouri City, Texas, failed to yield the right-of-way while driving onto the right lane of travel from the right shoulder of the highway.
A 2003 GMC Yukon driven by 38-year-old Barney James Oakley of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, struck the rear of the Oldsmobile as a result. The Oldsmobile then spun off the roadway and became engulfed in flames, said Anderson.
Shabazz and two passengers were properly restrained and were able to escape from the vehicle; they were transported from the scene with minor injuries, and Shabazz was ticketed for improper moving of a parked vehicle.
The GMC Yukon rolled over, causing the unrestrained passenger, 45-year-old Carl J. Melitos of Pearland, Texas, to be partially ejected. Melitos was pronounced dead at the scene, said Anderson.
Barney James Oakley was not injured, but was observed tossing a bag containing approximately one pound of methamphetamine from the GMC Yukon. Investigators also determined that he was impaired.
The drugs were recovered and Oakley was booked into the Jeff Davis Parish jail on charges of DWI, possession with intent to distribute Schedule II narcotics (methamphetamine), and failure to wear a seat belt.
A routine toxicology sample was obtained from Shabazz and will be submitted for analysis; the crash remains under investigation.
Wearing a seat belt, which is required by state law for all motor vehicle occupants at all times, is the single most effective thing motorists can do to minimize the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash, said Anderson.
Troop D has investigated 22 fatal crashes resulting in 31 deaths so far this year, said Anderson.
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