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Pontchatoula man dies in Jeff Davis Parish crash

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Posted at 4:48 PM, Mar 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 17:48:13-04

A Ponchatoula man died Friday morning on Interstate 10 during a heavy rainstorm, troopers say.

Troopers were called to I-10 near La. 26 in Jeff Davis Parish at about 6:30 a.m. to investigate a single-vehicle crash.

Phillip Cooper III, 54, died in the accident. He was a rear-seat passenger, and troopers say he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

The initial investigation revealed the driver of a 2016 Chevrolet pickup truck was traveling west on I-10 when it began hydroplaning during a heavy rainstorm. The driver lost control of the vehicle and traveled off the right side of the roadway. After leaving the roadway, the Chevrolet rotated counter-clockwise, traveled through a ditch, and struck a tree.

Cooper, the rear seat passenger, was not restrained and sustained fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Chevrolet and the two other occupants sustained minor injuries and were transported to an area hospital for treatment.

A toxicology sample was obtained from the driver and submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.

Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists to reduce your vehicle’s speed during inclement weather to avoid hydroplaning and to account for increased stopping distance. Periods of heavy rain may necessitate traveling at speeds below the posted speed limits.

Troop D has investigated 7 fatal crashes resulting in 8 deaths in 2023.