The crash occurred Saturday, shortly after 2:30 a.m. on US 61 south of La. Hwy. 621, he said.
The vehicle was speeding away after Gonzales Police Officers had initiated a stop for a traffic violation, said Graham. Troopers investigated the crash at the request of the Gonzales Police Department, but GPD Officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the initial traffic stop and subsequent pursuit, Graham explained.
Troopers preliminary investigation revealed that Joshua Davis, 24, of Westwego, La., was driving a 1998 Dodge Stratus north on US 61 at a high rate of speed, attempting to elude Gonzales Police Officers in pursuit, when he ran off the road to the left, said Graham.
Davis overcorrected to the right and the vehicle re-entered the roadway, began to rotate clockwise and ran off the road to the right.
As the vehicle slid off the roadway to the right, it entered a ditch and struck a culvert, vaulting it into the air. The vehicle flipped approximately two times before striking a large sign post in the front of the Ascension Baptist Church, Graham reports.
Neither the driver nor the two additional occupants were wearing seat belts. Davis and the rear seat passenger, Lerone Ursin, 40, of Convent, were both pronounced dead at the scene by the Ascension Parish Coroner’s Office, said Graham.
The front seat passenger, Quanmaine Scott, 17, of Prairieville, fled the scene on foot.
Scott sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken into custody shortly after the crash and treated for his injuries at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales, Graham said. It is unknown if impairment was a factor in the crash, and Troopers have submitted a sample of Davis’ blood to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for chemical analysis.
Speed and lack of seat belt use are considered factors in the two deaths, the LSP Trooper said.
Wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to increase safety while riding in a vehicle.
During a rollover crash, the safest place for a vehicle occupant to be is properly restrained INSIDE the vehicle. Poor decisions often lead to fatal crashes across the state. Some common poor decisions that lead to these crashes are driving impaired, speeding, driving distracted and not being properly restrained at all times.