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Friday afternoon crash claims life of Lake Charles woman

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Published: May. 7, 2021 at 9:47 PM CDT
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BELL CITY, La. (KPLC) - A Lake Charles woman is dead after a crash near Fruge Road in Bell City Friday afternoon, according to Louisiana State Police.

According to Derek Senegal, Troop D public information officer, troopers responded to a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of LA Hwy 14 and Fruge Road in Calcasieu Parish Friday, May 7, shortly after 3:15 p.m. Senegal says the crash claimed the life of Linda Nelson Gardner, 69, of Lake Charles.

Senegal says the preliminary investigation revealed a 2016 Ford F250 pickup truck, driven by Michial Dewayne Temple, 48, of Norwood, was traveling east on LA Hwy 14 and approaching Fruge Road. At the same time, the driver of a 2011 Kia Optima was traveling west on LA Hwy 14, according to Senegal.

Temple allegedly failed to yield to oncoming traffic while turning left onto Fruge Road and turned into the path of the Kia, according to Senegal. Senegal says the Kia struck the right side of the Ford.

Senegal says Gardner, who was the front-seat passenger in the Kia, was not properly restrained.

She suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Senegal.

Senegal says the driver of the Kia, who was properly restrained, sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to a Lake Charles area hospital by air ambulance.

Temple was properly restrained and was not injured.

The front and rear-seat passengers in Temple’s vehicle were not properly restrained, and the rear seat passenger sustained minor injuries and was transported to a Lake Charles area hospital, according to Senegal. The front-seat passenger was not injured.

A toxicology sample was obtained from Temple and submitted for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.

Troopers remind motorists to always look and make sure it is clear before pulling into traffic or turning at intersections. Always watch vehicles as they approach and gauge the distance they are covering as they approach. Keep your focus on the road. It only takes a fraction of a second for a crash to occur.

Louisiana state law requires vehicle occupants to be properly restrained in all seating positions, day or night. Statistics show the chances of surviving a crash rise significantly when properly restrained but the decision not to wear a seat belt can have deadly consequences. Motorists are encouraged to make the smart choice and to always wear a seat belt.

Troop D has investigated 10 fatal crashes resulting in 10 deaths in 2021.

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