The following is a news release from the Louisiana State Police:
On Monday, January 9, 2012, at approximately 9:26 p.m., troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop D responded to two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 171 at Louisiana Highway 3059 just north of Lake Charles that claimed the life of a Lake Charles man.
Investigating troopers report that a 1999 Toyota pick-up truck driven by 43-year-old Rafael M. Torres of Lake Charles was traveling north on U.S. 171 at its intersection with LA 3059 with no lights on when Torres traveled through a red traffic signal. A 2006 Ford pick-up truck driven by 25-year-old Derek P. Cooper of Iowa was southbound attempting to make a left turn east onto LA 3059 when the two vehicles collided.
Torres, who was not wearing a seat belt, died as a result of his injuries.
Cooper, who was wearing a seatbelt, was not injured. Cooper was charged with driving under suspension.
Alcohol or drug use has not been determined at this time. A toxicology sample was obtained from the drivers and will be submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.
Louisiana state law requires all vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt is the single most effective thing motorists can do to protect themselves in a crash. Buckle up Louisiana. Every trip. Every time.