NATHITOCHES PARISH, LA — On Tuesday, Sept. 11, a crash involving two vehicles killed a Louisiana Army National Guardsman from Shreveport, LA and moderately injured another. The Guardsmen were traveling home from Hammond, LA where they were on active duty, providing relief efforts to the citizens of Louisiana that were affected by Hurricane Isaac, when their vehicle was tragically struck.
Troopers responded to the crash around 3:20 p.m., which occurred on Interstate 49, approximately five miles north of LA Hwy 6, in Natchitoches Parish. The crash involved a 2007 Kenworth (18 wheeler) driven by James Neil Saucier, 43, of Opelousas, LA and a military Humvee, driven by Sergeant Kevin Dean Weiner, 30, of Shreveport.
The Kenworth and the Humvee were both northbound on Interstate 49, prior to the crash. Sergeant Weiner’s vehicle was traveling in a military convoy, at approximately 55 mph, and was the last vehicle in line. Saucier was traveling faster than the convoy and collided with the rear of the Humvee. After the collision, the Humvee overturned and came to rest in the median of Interstate 49. The Kenworth also came to rest in the median.
While in Hammond, the Guardsmen were in charge of logistics in reference to the transportation of relief supplies during Hurricane Isaac. The Guardsmen were/are part of the 165th CSSB Unit from Bossier City, LA. Sergeant Weiner had been with the Louisiana Army National Guard for 12 years.
Saucier was wearing his seatbelt and was not injured.
Sergeant Weiner was wearing his seatbelt, but was pronounced dead. His passenger, identified as Sergeant John C. Fike, 32, of Bossier City, LA, was wearing his seatbelt and received moderate injuries. He was transported to Natchitoches Parish Hospital for treatment.
Routine toxicology tests and charges are pending. The crash remains under investigation.
“The Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana National Guard share a partnership which is based on a commitment to public safety and service to our citizens. Troopers and Guardsmen have stood shoulder to shoulder across Louisiana for incidents and events which have affected our state," said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “This tragic event has left our hearts heavy for the soldiers and airmen of the Louisiana National Guard and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those involved.”
While not all crashes are survivable, seatbelts can greatly decrease the occupant’s chance of death and will greatly reduce the extent of injury. Also, motorists must stay attentive to their surroundings and must pay special attention to the traffic in front of them, especially on Interstate highways where speeds are usually higher and crashes are usually more severe. By limiting distractions inside the vehicle, motorists will be more likely to remain attentive.
Troop E Troopers have investigated 45 fatal crashes in 2012, resulting in 50 fatalities.