Seat belts were not being worn by either person killed in two separate wrecks Wednesday on ArkLaTex highways, authorities say.
And investigators think a tire blowout led to the fatal wreck on Interstate 49 in Natchitoches Parish, according to Louisiana State Police.
Betty B. Siders, 71, of Colfax, died when the 2008 Ford pickup in which she was traveling left the highway, ran into a large tree then burst into flames.
Authorities say 39-year-old Sheri Lynne Frisby, of Colfax, was driving the pickup south on I-49 about 12:05 p.m. Nov. 22 when a tire blew out, causing her to lose control of the truck near mile post 123 north of Cloutierville.
The impact ejected Frisby, whom police say also was not wearing a seat belt.
She was taken to Rapides Regional Trauma Center for treatment of moderate injuries.
About 7 hours later, a Quitman man was killed in a two-vehicle wreck involving a Lincoln Parish resident.
State police say it happened shortly before 7 p.m. on U.S. Highway 167 at Louisiana Highway 155 (Old Quitman Highway) in Quitman.
Preliminary investigation indicates that 86-year-old Eddie Barnes Sr. was driving a 2012 Chevrolet Impala across both southbound lanes of U.S. 167 from Old Quitman Highway when the collision occurred.
His vehicle was struck by a 2016 Ford F-150 pickup being driven by 35-year-old Jesse Lamey, of Ruston.
Barnes was pronounced dead at the scene by a representative of the Jackson Parish coroner’s office.
Authorities say Lamey, who was wearing a seat belt, was not injured in the crash.
State police note that failure to wear a seat belt is the leading cause of death in motor vehicle crashes.
"Louisiana State Police would like to take this opportunity to remind/inform motorists that properly wearing your seat belt will dramatically reduce your chance of being injured or killed in a crash," Master Trooper Daniel “Scott” Moreau said. "We ask you to take one second to buckle up."
Louisiana law requires drivers and passengers to wear proper restraints.
"Wearing a seat belt on every trip, whether it’s short or long, is the most effective thing motorists can do to protect themselves in the event of a crash," Senior Trooper Michael Reichardt said. "Motorists are encouraged to always make the smart choice and to wear their seat belt."
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