Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop E began investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash on May 24 around 3:45 pm on U.S. Hwy 171 south of Zwolle. This crash claimed the lives of 66-year-old Billy Meshell, a 17-year-old juvenile, and a 15-year-old juvenile of Zwolle.
The initial investigation revealed that a 2003 GMC pickup truck, driven by Meshell, was traveling north on U.S. Hwy 171. At the same time, a loaded 2012 Peterbilt log truck, also traveling north, began slowing to make a right hand turn. For reasons still under investigation, Meshell failed to decrease his speed and impacted the rear end of the Peterbilt.
Meshell, who was restrained, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Two additional juvenile passengers in the GMC, who were not restrained, sustained fatal injuries and were also pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Peterbilt, who was restrained, sustained minor injuries. Although impairment is not suspected, routine toxicology samples were collected and will be submitted for analysis.
While the cause of this crash remains under investigation, distracted and inattentive driving continues to be a leading cause of crashes in our state. Louisiana State Police urges all motorists to stay alert while driving. A lapse in one’s awareness can have deadly consequences.
Louisiana State Police would like to take this opportunity to remind/inform motorists that properly wearing your seat belt is one of the most important decisions that a motorist can make. While not all crashes are survivable, proper use of seat belts can greatly decrease an occupant’s chance of death and may greatly reduce the extent of injury. Always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained can often mean the difference between life and death.
In 2023, Troop E Troopers have investigated 23 fatal crashes resulting in 26 fatalities.
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