Troopers investigating two fatal crashes in Tangipahoa Parish
TANGIPAHOA PARISH – State Troopers are investigating two fatal crashes that happened in Tangipahoa Parish on Thursday that claimed the lives of two men.
The first fatal crash occurred around 9 a.m. Thursday on I-12 east of Pumpkin Center Road in Hammond. The crash investigation determined that 68-year-old Bobby Joe Benson was driving a 2003 Ford Explorer eastbound on I-12 in the left lane. Evidence at the scene indicated that Benson's vehicle abruptly exited the roadway to the left.
The vehicle then went onto the median where it crashed into a light pole and cable barrier system. Benson was transported to a hospital in Hammond in critical condition.
Shortly after his arrival, Benson was pronounced dead by an emergency room physician. Benson was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash, according to Louisiana State Police. Troopers are investigating Benson's medical history as a possible factor to the crash.
Investigators also obtained blood samples that will be sent to the State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
The second crash occurred around 9:30 a.m. Thursday west of I-55 in Kentwood. Troopers were able to determine that 64-year-old James Pittman was riding a 2012 Harley Davidson motorcycle eastbound on La 38.
Pittman was traveling behind a 2015 Chevrolet Malibu driven by 21-year-old Kayla Stilley. As the Malibu slowed to turn left into a private driveway, Pittman was unable to stop his motorcycle and swerved towards the left causing him to crash into the left rear of the car.
After striking the car, Pittman's motorcycle traveled into the westbound lane where he was hit head-on by a pick-up truck driven by 81-year-old Huey Collier.
Pittman sustained significant injuries in the crash despite wearing a DOT approved helmet. He was transported to the Hood Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Impairment is not suspected in the crash. All drivers involved in the crash provided breathe samples which did not contain amounts of alcohol. Blood samples were also obtained from Pittman and will be sent to the LSP Crime Lab for analysis as well.
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