Drug suspect killed after fleeing into traffic - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Drug suspect killed after fleeing into traffic

A 27-year-old Alabama man is dead after allegedly bolting from police and running in front of an oncoming 18-wheeler on Interstate 10.

Louisiana State Police have identified the man as Matthew Quentin Tatum of Montgomery, Ala. 

It was about 8 a.m. when members of the Calcasieu Combined Anti-drug Task Force or CAT team stopped a vehicle heading east on I-10 for improper lane change. Sheriff Tony Mancuso said the driver did not signal when he changed lanes.

Sheriff's officials said a search of the vehicle revealed about four pounds of marijuana in luggage in the vehicle, so the Tatum was under arrest. But then officials said he bolted into the path of an 18-wheeler.

Sgt. James Anderson of Troop D said State Police are investigating the fatality.

"This morning at 7:56, the Calcasieu Parish Combined Anti Drug Task Force made a traffic stop on I-10 near mile post 12 which is east of Vinton. They had a subject in custody. That subject took off, ran into the path of an 18 wheeler, was struck and killed at the scene," he said.

The truck was a 2005 Volvo commercial motor vehicle, driven by 58-year-old Charles H. Guidry of Lake Charles. Authorities said Guidry attempted to avoid hitting Tatum.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said the suspect's own conduct led to his being hit.

"He put himself in that position. You know, when you drug traffic, whether it's in Calcasieu Parish or anywhere else, you're getting stopped and arrested for that violation, which he was being placed under arrest and he chose to flee from police. And course he was already in handcuffs and why he chose to do that I don't know. Only that person knows that and subsequently he was hit by oncoming traffic," Mancuso said.

The sheriff said they will do an internal investigation, but that all indications are the task force members acted properly.

"People try to run from us all the time. Sometimes they're successful, sometimes they're not.  In this case, he was successful to run, unfortunately he ran into oncoming traffic and subsequently got hit by a vehicle and it cost him his life," Mancuso said.

When asked if he thought it was a suicide, Mancuso said he did not know.

"We don't know. We may never know the answer to that question," Mancuso said.

Detectives said the suspect told them he was traveling from Houston to Montgomery, Alabama. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No charges have been filed in the incident.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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