PONCHATOULA, LA — A Ponchatoula mother and her two children remain hospitalized with moderate to serious injuries this morning following a two vehicle crash with an impaired driver yesterday evening. The crash took place shortly after 8:00 p.m. on LA 445 at the intersection with the I-12 eastbound on ramp in Tangipahoa Parish.
Troopers’ investigation revealed that Nicole Young, 35, of Ponchatoula, was traveling north on LA 445 in a 2002 Chevrolet sedan with her 5 year old daughter and 14 year old son when the crash occurred. As Young continued northbound, a 1998 Isuzu pickup truck, driven by Stephen Herbert Jr, 58, of Covington, attempted to turn left onto the I-12 eastbound on ramp and crossed directly into the path of Young’s vehicle. As the Isuzu turned across the northbound lane of LA 445, it was impacted on its right side by the front end of the Chevrolet.
Neither Young nor her two children were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. Nicole Young was transported to St. Tammany Parish Hospital with moderate injuries. The 5 year old and 14 year old passengers in the Chevrolet received serious injuries in the crash and were airlifted to the Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans where they remain in critical condition. Impairment is not suspected on the part Young pending toxicology results.
Herbert was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured in the crash. He submitted to a breath alcohol test registering a blood alcohol level over the state’s legal limit of 0.08g%. Herbert was subsequently booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail charged with 3 counts of First Degree Vehicular Negligent Injuring, DWI 2nd offense, and Failure to Yield while Turning Left at an Intersection.
As the investigation continues, additional charges may be forthcoming for both drivers.
While the primary contributing factor in the crash was driver impairment, the lack of seatbelt use resulted in preventable life threatening injuries to the innocent victims. Troopers and local first responders witness firsthand the devastating effects that driving while impaired and lack of proper seatbelt use has on drivers and passengers across the state each day. In addition to placing themselves in danger, a driver’s poor decisions while behind the wheel often has far reaching consequences affecting far too often innocent victims. Louisiana law requires every vehicle occupant, front seat and back seat, to be properly restrained day or night. Taking the time to buckle up every trip and every time is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.