Unrestrained Driver Killed, Another Injured in Acadia Parish Crash

Published: 12-26-2023 | Category: Troop I

Acadia Parish – Shortly after 9:30 a.m. on December 26, 2023, Louisiana State Police Troop I was notified of a two-vehicle crash on Louisiana Highway 91 south of Clement Road. The crash claimed the life of 67-year-old Thomas Harelson of Jennings.

The initial investigation revealed the crash occurred as Harelson was driving a 2017 Lincoln Continental north on LA 91 when he crossed the center line as he was attempting to negotiate a curve. Upon doing so, the Lincoln struck a southbound 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe head-on in the southbound lane.

Harelson, who was unrestrained, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Acadia Parish Coroner’s Office. The driver of the Tahoe was also unrestrained and transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries.

Impairment is unknown, and toxicology results are pending. This crash remains under investigation.

Far too often, Troopers witness the devastating effects of a crash where the driver fails to utilize a seat belt. Seat belts, when worn properly, greatly increase the chances of surviving a crash. The seat belt works in many ways by crossing the strong bones of the body and spreading out the forces, allowing the body to slow down in the crash. Seat belts prevent ejection and protect the neck and spine, as well as other vital organs. Taking three seconds to secure your seat belt can save others a lifetime of missing you. Please buckle up, every ride, every time.

Troop I has investigated 56 fatal crashes resulting in 61 deaths in 2023.

Contact Information:

TFC Thomas Gossen
Public Information Officer
Troop I - Public Affairs
225-247-6448 (cell)
337-262-5880 (office)