Nighttime crashes claim far too many lives in Louisiana, especially the lives of pedestrian walking on highways or other roadways. Unfortunately, this time of year when it gets dark earlier only increases the chances of this tragedy happening.

15-year-old Cheyenne Cesar Thomas of Ville Platte is the latest pedestrian-involved crash to end fatally as Louisiana State Police say she died in the hospital following a crash Monday night. According to a press release from State Police, Thomas was hit by a northbound pickup as she was walking north in the center of the northbound lane of US 71 in St. Landry Parish.

Hannah Comeaux
U.S. 71 near scene of crash, google street view

According to investigators, the driver did not break any laws. The submitted breath sample did not indicate any alcohol. The driver was not impaired and was properly restrained. Fortunately, the driver was uninjured.

Troopers say fatalities involving pedestrians increased by 19% in 2020. Nearly 70% of those crashed happened at night.

In addition to urging pedestrians to maintain a heightened level of awareness, troopers recommend pedestrians take simple precautions such as:

  • wearing reflective materials
  • avoiding distractions
  • not walking too close to roadways
  • walking against the flow of traffic

These tips could prevent most of pedestrian related crashes.

Thomas' death was the 68th death in 57 fatal crashes investigated by Troop I in 2021.

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