‘My son happened to be driving by at just the wrong time:’ A grim reminder to secure your load

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:39 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - More than 700 people have died across the U.S. from 2016 to 2020 because of unsecured loads, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

June 6 is “Secure Your Load for Road Safety” Day to raise awareness in the state and honor those whose lives have been impacted.

Busy roadways, highways, and interstates can be a hot spot for those traveling with large loads like logs, pipes, and even non-commercial loads carrying furniture or debris.

But what can happen if those loads aren’t secure? It can be devastating.

“Well 19 years ago my son got killed,” Harriet Green said, who lost her son in a crash involving an unsecured load.

Green’s son Ronald Green was traveling through Baton Rouge when logs spilled from an overturned truck.

“It’s something we absolutely were not expecting,” Green said. “He was coming to Lake Charles to see me and he never made it.”

About a dozen 30-foot logs cut that trip short.

“My son happened to be driving by at just the wrong time,” Green said.

He was only 45 years old when one of those logs struck him in the head killing him in 2004.

“Even now it’s sad, because this was a man who was totally blameless,” Green said. “He was doing nothing wrong, after all, how could a guy coming to see his mama be doing anything wrong ya know? And he was gone.”

An innocent life lost.

“All because somebody did not secure their load, after all, they were only traveling a short distance,” Green said.

“You have to make sure that your load is secure,” Louisiana State Police Troop D spokesman Derek Senegal said.

Troopers say no matter the distance, much like a seat belt, to make sure your load is tied down and secure.

“Just make sure you secure your load every time, every trip,’ Senegal said. “Long trip, short trip, just make sure everything is nice and tight. Bungie cords, ropes, tarps, cargo netting, double check it and make sure everything is good.”

“People just don’t know how something can happen and you cannot take it for granted,” Green said. “If you’re in charge of securing a load, secure it.”

State police said anyone who does not secure their load is subject to fines and a citation.

If you see any debris like logs or ladders, furniture, or any other large objects on the roadways, call state police and don’t get out of your vehicle and try to remove it yourself.