Fatal crash

A Livingston Parish toddler has died from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate-12 this week, despite being property restrained in his carseat, according to Louisiana State Police.

One-year-old Benjamin DeLaune, of Livingston, died one day after an accident on I-12 near Pumpkin Center Road in Tangipahoa Parish, LSP spokesperson William Huggins said in a statement.

According to Huggins, the crash occurred around 7 a.m. Wednesday as a 2006 GMC Sierra, driven by 28-year-old George Johnson of Kentwood, traveled eastbound on I-12. At the same time, a 2019 Hyundai Elantra was also traveling eastbound on I-12, directly in front of the GMC.

“For reasons still under investigation, the GMC struck the rear of the Hyundai,” Huggins said.

DeLaune was “properly restrained in a rear-facing child seat,” but nonetheless suffered “serious injuries” from the crash, Huggins said. The toddler, who was a passenger in the Hyundai, was taken to a local hospital and ultimately succumbed to his injuries on Sept. 15.

Huggins said the driver of the Hyundai, who was also properly restrained, sustained “moderate” injuries and was transported to a local hospital. Johnson, the driver of the GMC, was, too, properly restrained and sustained “minor” injuries.

Toxicology samples were taken from both drivers as part of the ongoing investigation.

Huggins said troopers will give their findings to the Tangipahoa Parish District Attorney’s Office “for consultation of criminal and/or traffic violations pending the completion of the investigation.”

In his statement, Huggins reminded motorists “to always make good decisions while in a motor vehicle” and to “never drive impaired, fatigued or distracted, follow all traffic laws and always ensure every occupant is properly restrained.”

“While not all crashes are survivable, taking simple precautions such as these can often mean the difference between life and death,” he said. “Please speak to your loved ones about the importance of safe decisions while driving.”

Huggins also urged those with questions about children’s car seats to visit Troop L, which is a nationally recognized Child Seat Fitting Station. Certified car seat technicians are available every Tuesday from 2-5 p.m. at 2600 North Causeway Blvd. in Mandeville, no appointment needed.

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