LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Traffic fatalities are down this year across Louisiana compared to 2017, according to Louisiana State Police.
State Police say they have investigated 655 fatalities from crashes so far in 2018, down almost 14 percent from last year’s 758 fatalities.
“Last year, 2017, we have had 26 crashes," Trooper Derek Senegal said about crashes Troop D has investigated in Southwest Louisiana. "Out of those crashes, we had 35 people who lost their lives. This year, so far, as of December 24, we’ve had 29 fatal crashes with 29 lives lost.”
Senegal says the most common causes of crashes they investigate are impaired or distracted drivers.
“If they are drinking, you know, consuming alcohol, we want you to call someone, we do not want you to get on the road," Senegal said. "You could cause a crash and possibly kill yourself or somebody else. So we are doing more proactive patrolling, trying to get those drivers off the road.”
Senegal says motorists can help prevent fatal crashes by calling State Police to report possible drunk drivers. He says lives were potentially saved when troopers were tipped about a possible drunk driver earlier this week. Senegal says after investigating, Hugo Gonzalez was arrested and charged with his third DWI and child endangerment. Gonzalez is accused of driving with a blood alcohol content three and a half times the legal limit with a child in the car.
“If you see something, call us and let us investigate," Senegal said. "Don’t put yourself in any harms way. Give us a description of the vehicle, also the license plate will really help us. You know, catching that driver, we could have saved a lot of lives. His life, the passengers, and others.”
State Police say if you suspect you see a drunk driver, to dial 911 or *LSP (*577).
Here is the number of fatal crashes investigated by Louisiana State Police Troop D, according to Senegal:
2015 - 28 fatal crashes with 30 fatalities
2016 - 31 fatal fatal crashes with 35 fatalities
2017 - 26 fatal crashes with 35 fatalities
2018 (as of December 24) - 29 fatal crashes with 29 fatalities