A Caddo Parish Sheriff's Deputy was killed Friday morning by what State Police suspect to be a distracted driver after responding to a crash on I-49 north of Shreveport.
The Sheriff's Office identified the deputy as 82-year-old Auxiliary Deputy Lonnie Thacker of Keithville. State Police say Thacker was sitting in a parked, fully marked CPSO patrol unit that was positioned in the right lane for traffic control, with its emergency lights on, at the location of a previous two-vehicle crash that caused a lane closure. A second driver was traveling on I-49 northbound and approached the lane closure. The driver failed to observe the marked unit, which was blocking the lane, and struck the rear of the CPSO vehicle, causing both cars to exit the roadway.
Thacker was inside the vehicle and died at the scene. The driver of the second vehicle was restrained and was taken to Ochsner LSU Health with minor injuries.
"Lonnie Thacker was a dedicated member of the Caddo Sheriff's Office and we are saddened by this loss," Prator said. "The contributions of our auxiliary deputies are so important to our operation and greatly valued by me and all of our deputies. I know he took pride in his work and enjoyed the contribution he was making to his community. His service will never be forgotten. We extend our most sincere sympathies to his family and ask that the community pray for them."
The Sheriff's Auxiliary Program enlists trained volunteers to assist in the Patrol Division and other areas of the department. Thacker joined the program in May of 2001. The deputies receive no pay for their service. The Sheriff's Office said Thacker regularly logged more than 500 volunteer hours a year helping patrol deputies with duties like traffic control, funeral escorts, and neighborhood patrols.
He was passionate about litter abatement and keeping the parish clean, along with youth programs held by the Sheriff's Office.
Impairment isn't thought to be a factor in the crash, but routine toxicology samples were taken. State Police are investigating the crash at the request of the Caddo Sheriff's Office.
Troopers remind all motorists of the dangers of taking your eyes off the road while driving. By taking your attention away from the road, even for a brief moment, you are unable to observe and react to the changing road conditions ahead.
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