RAPIDES PARISH, La. (WNTZ) – On June 7, 2023, at approximately 10:35 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a one-vehicle crash on Boyd Road at Havens Road. The crash claimed the life of 36-year-old Jerrad S. Merrell.

The initial investigation revealed that a 2002 Ford F-150, driven by Merrell, was traveling south on Boyd Road. For reasons still under investigation, the Ford traveled off the roadway and overturned. This action ejected Merrell from the vehicle.

Merrell, who was not restrained, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Impairment is a suspected factor in this crash. Routine toxicology samples were obtained and submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.

Louisiana State Police would like to remind all motorists that if you feel differently, you drive differently. Alcohol, prescription drugs, and other drugs have many effects on the body that negatively affect driving skills.

These drugs can impair visual ability, alter the sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills needed to operate a motor vehicle and decrease reaction times. Motorists are encouraged to plan and designate a sober driver. Not doing so can have deadly consequences.

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 has investigated 24 fatal crashes, resulting in 27 deaths.