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Man dies one week after being struck along Ascension Parish road; family questions police investigation

4 months 2 weeks 3 days ago Monday, May 08 2023 May 8, 2023 May 08, 2023 9:57 AM May 08, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

DUTCHTOWN - A man struck and critically injured along a road in Ascension Parish has died, according to an attorney representing the victim's family.

The incident happened April 29, along LA 74. Darryl West was walking along the highway when he was hit by a vehicle, according to his family. They said he spent over a week in the hospital and had his leg amputated before he ultimately died. 

West's relatives have hired Attorney Ron Haley as they raise concerns about how law enforcement on the scene handled the crash investigation, including questions about what tests were conducted on the driver.

Louisiana State Police published a news release about the crash just hours after West's family announced plans to hold a press conference Monday. 

In the release, police say West was walking across the highway when he was struck. The statement from LSP also noted that West was wearing dark clothing at the time of the crash. 

The agency said its investigators do not suspect the driver was impaired. 

The impact shattered the front windshield of the vehicle and caused a severe dent in the hood.

West's family has spent the past week questioning how investigators have handled the case.

"The reckless teenage driver who's responsible for Mr. Darryl West not being here today, she was allowed to remove what we believe was evidence out of her car, lots of evidence," attorney Ashley Greenhouse said. "That's the thing that's most troubling for us, is that there's certain things we can't undo. We'll never be able to recreate what happened there."

On Friday, their attorney said she hoped "that video footage captured by a local business and secured by police will answer some of the questions Mr. West and his family still have."

“When you see the impact of Mr. West’s body to that car you’ll understand why there should have been more. You’ll understand why the family is so upset that there weren’t even tests out there to see if the driver was impaired,” attorney Ashley Greenhouse said.

“We’re not saying that something definitely criminally happened that day, we’re saying that they treated him as if he were dispensable and they did not treat this investigation on the onset with the same vigor as they do in other cases,” attorney Ron Haley said.

Greenhouse says there are many other concerns as well, including the possibility of the driver removing evidence.

“The reckless teenage driver who is responsible for Mr. West not being here today, she was allowed to remove what we think is evidence out of her car, lots of evidence out of the car. They didn’t do anything to preserve evidence and that’s what is most troubling to us, is that there are certain things that we can’t undo,” Greenhouse said.

Haley says he just wants to make sure this investigation is handled right for the family, so that they can be at peace with the loss of their loved one.

"There’s nothing wrong with the family demanding that this is done right. If at the end of the day it shows this was done right, this driver was not at fault then I think the family could accept that if it’s done right. But at this point it’s impossible to do it right because of what was done that day at the crime scene,” Haley said.

A statement given to WBRZ by Louisiana State Police says that the crash is still being investigated.

Read the full statement from State Police below:

On April 29, 2023, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Troopers with Louisiana State Police Troop A began investigating a single-vehicle injury crash involving a pedestrian on LA 74 near Sugar Plum Road in Ascension Parish.

The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2013 Honda Accord was traveling west on LA 74. For reasons still under investigation, 42-year-old Darryl West of Geismar walked across the westbound lane of travel and was struck by the Accord. West was wearing dark colored clothing at the time of crash.

At the time of the crash, West was transported to a local hospital with critical injuries. The driver of the Accord was properly restrained and uninjured. Impairment on the part of the driver is not suspected. On May 8, 2023, West succumbed to his injuries he sustained in the crash. This crash remains under investigation.

Troopers urge pedestrians to maintain a heightened level of awareness while walking near the road. Simple precautions such as wearing reflective materials, avoiding distractions, and walking a safe distance from travel lanes while facing oncoming traffic and/or crossing the road at a designated crosswalk could help prevent many pedestrian related crashes. Crashes involving pedestrians can often be avoided by following these basic safety guidelines.

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