Posted: Oct 28, 2012 7:53 PM by Chris Welty
Updated: Oct 28, 2012 7:59 PM
Within the past month, State Police have investigated two fatal accidents in Acadiana involving police officers.
In Morgan City, investigators say Saint Mary deputies were chasing a car driven by a Morgan City man who was wanted in a drug investigation. Troopers say the man crashed into another vehicle, his car flipped and he was killed.
In Maurice, Officer Willis Thomas had been dispatched by the sheriff when soon after, his car hit the driver side door of a vehicle that pulled out in front of him.
The driver of that car died on scene.
Knowing limitations behind the wheel and the proper training could mean the difference between life or death.
From pursuits to making it safely through an intersection when responding to an emergency, troopers have to be prepared for anything.
"In our job, there are times where we may have to drive at higher rates of speeds, we may be pursuing a suspect, we may be trying to respond to an emergency call. During the course of that response, we can encounter several different kinds of conditions," said Trooper Stephen Hammons of Louisiana State Police Troop I.
During parts of training, sprinklers are used to simulate rain and slight flooding on the track. A trooper learns how to control their car when it goes into a skid.
Training continues with recovery drills both on and off the road, some drills at high speeds. The goal is the same, to control the car no matter what type of vehicle it is.
"For us to know how each vehicle reacts in an emergency situation is imperative. We've got to know the limitations of the car, but also the limitations of the driver. Sometimes, there are factors that are outside of our control and by having certain training in there to help us avoid some situations, those are things that help us."
On average troopers drive nearly 80 hours every two weeks and Trooper Hammons says statistically, accidents will happen.
"When you're put into a stressful situation, you're going to resort back to your training and based off of what your training is will dictate how you function in that emergency situation."