Westlake man dies in motorcycle crash

The following is a press release from the Louisiana State Police:

On March 25, 2012, at 7:24 a.m., troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop D responded to a two vehicle crash involving a motorcycle in Calcasieu Parish.  The crash occurred on Louisiana Highway 379 about 2 miles west of Westlake and claimed the life of a Westlake man.

Investigating troopers report that an 18-wheeler heading east had stopped as required by law at a railroad crossing.  The 18-wheeler began to accelerate away from the railroad crossing when two eastbound vehicles passed the truck.

The first vehicle passed successfully.  The second passing vehicle, a 2007 Chrysler 300, struck a westbound motorcycle driven by 2009 Harley-Davidson motorcycle driven by 57-year-old James Loniello of Westlake head-on.

Loniello who was wearing an approved motorcycle helmet, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Office.

The person driving the Chrysler 300, who was properly restrained, received only minor injuries and charged with improper passing.  Additional charges are possible.

Routine toxicology samples were obtained from the drivers and will be submitted for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.

This is the second fatal crash involving a motorcycle investigated by Troop D this year.

Approximately three-fourths of motorcycle crashes involve a collision with another vehicle, usually a passenger automobile.  Inattention kills.  Please watch for motorcycles whenever driving.

Motorcycle awareness license plates are available through the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles.  Please visit their website at www.expresslane.org for more information.   Funds generated from the purchase of the plates will be used by the Motorcycle Awareness Campaign to increase awareness and promote/support training and education efforts for motorcyclists.