Evangeline Parish (LSP) – At approximately 7:45 p.m. on June 21, 2020, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop I were notified of a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 49 near mile post 43, north of LA Hwy 29 in Evangeline Parish. The crash took the life of 22-year-old Destiny Ates of Pollock.
Preliminary investigation revealed Donald Ates Jr. was driving a 2001 Ford Explorer southbound on I-49. For unknown reasons, his vehicle ran off the roadway and struck a guardrail. After impact, the Explorer began to overturn in the median.
Despite being properly restrained, Destiny Ates suffered fatal injuries. She was pronounced deceased at the scene by the St. Landry Parish Coroner’s Office. Donald Ates was unrestrained and was ejected from the vehicle; he suffered moderate injuries. A 7-month-old child was properly restrained and sustained minor injuries. Donald Ates and the child were transported to an area hospital for treatment. Impairment is unknown at this time, but a toxicology sample was taken from Donald Ates for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.
Death notification continues to be one of the hardest elements of the Law Enforcement profession. Notification is even more difficult when Troopers know that the outcome was preventable. As summer is upon us, please take a moment to put the safety of you and your loved ones ahead of everything else. Aside from sound decisions behind the wheel, speak to your family and friends about the consequences of impaired driving. Remind them that wearing a seat belt greatly reduces the chances of being killed or seriously injured in a crash. Speak to them about the dangers of distracted driving. The conversation you have today could be the difference tomorrow.
Troop I has investigated 26 fatal crashes resulting in 28 deaths in 2020.