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Cause of Louisiana highway tragedy unclear

If you drive north of Houma for about an hour and a half, you will arrive in Ponchatoula. The town in Tangipahoa Parish was recently the site of a highway crash that took the lives of two people.

The elderly couple was driving north on Interstate 55 when their 2002 Ford Explorer was hit from behind by a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado. The impact caused the Explorer to slam into a bridge rail to the right and then veer back across both of the northbound lanes, overturn and slam into the bridge railing on the left, a spokesperson for the Louisiana State Police said.

The 73-year-old woman who was a passenger in the Explorer was pronounced dead at the scene of the violent crash. The 78-year-old male driver sustained severe injuries. He was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, but died there a short while later.

Police said both were wearing their seatbelts when impact occurred.

State troopers said that their investigation of the wreck determined that the crash was at about 6:40 in the morning. The 43-year-old man who was driving the Silverado sustained no injuries in the wreck.

Law enforcement officials do not believe that impairment was a factor.

We do not yet know what caused this tragedy, but we do know that in many similar accidents, distraction is a major factor. Far too often people are paying more attention to their phone or in-dash entertainment system than the traffic — even when traveling at high speed on an interstate highway.

We wish the best for the families that have lost loved ones as they grieve.

In many situations, closure cannot take place without holding the negligent party accountable for their actions. That process begins with a conversation an attorney experienced in wrongful death litigation.