A preliminary investigation indicates Jamet Kato, 29, of Baton Rouge, was driving a 2000 Toyota Corolla west on LA 964 when she ran off the road into a wooded area. The vehicle, which became airborne during the accident, struck a mound of dirt and flipped end over end eventually coming to rest on its roof, according to a LSP Trooper.
Kato and her front-seat passenger, a 12-year-old female, were the only two occupants who were restrained when the crash occurred. None of the four small children riding in the back seat (ages 9, 6, 5 and 2) were restrained when the crash occurred.
Two of the four unrestrained children, both females aged 9 and 6, were ejected from the vehicle. The 6-year-old, Tobiya Kato, of Baton Rouge, sustained fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead by the East Feliciana Coroner’s Office on the scene.
The remaining three unrestrained children sustained serious injuries and remain in the hospital. All the vehicle’s occupants were transported to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital by Acadian Ambulance.
LSP Troopers have charged Kato with careless operation, failure to maintain automobile insurance, and four counts of failure to properly restrain children. The crash remains under investigation at this time and additional charges may be forthcoming. Troopers said along with the four unrestrained children in the backseat was a 36” flat screen television.
Louisiana State Law requires the driver of a motor vehicle to ensure that EVERY child under the age of 13 in a motor vehicle equipped with safety belts is properly secured regardless of seating position. Until a child is 6-years-old AND weighs at least 60 pounds, that child is required by law to be restrained in a proper child restraint system.