Scotty Cormier Jr. Killed in Truck Accident on LA-35 in St. Landry Parish
St. Landry Parish, LA — June 11, 2022, 23-year-old Scotty Cormier Jr. died in a crash with an 18-wheeler on State Highway 35 in St. Landry Parish.
Authorities say the incident happened around 4:30 a.m. on LA-35 near Mandy Road. Preliminary investigation suggests Cormier was northbound in an SUV on the highway when he approached an 18-wheeler that was backing into a private drive, blocking the roadway as it did so.
According to reports the truck driver backed partially into Cormier's lane and blocked his path, at which point Cormier's SUV crashed into the side of the semi-trailer.
Cormier had a seat belt on but was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was unhurt.
The crash remains under investigation and charges are reportedly pending, but impairment is not believed to be a factor.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Scotty Cormier Jr. Accident on LA-35 in St. Landry Parish
Early reports paint a troubling picture of a commercial trucking backing through a road--not just any road, but a highway--to reach a private drive. That's a risky maneuver and can make a dangerous obstacle in the road for other drivers, which sadly had fatal consequences in Louisiana.
To be blunt, across hundreds of commercial vehicle wrecks, I can recall few if any situations where a truck driver was right to block the highway. However, even when things seem clear on paper the trucking company is not obligated to admit fault--in fact, they're notorious for disputing and denying it.
That's why it's important that investigators look closely at what happened on Highway 35. There could be extenuating circumstances to uncover, but more importantly clear facts would help ensure the victim's family can tell (and prove) their side of the story.
After a serious truck wreck, a go-to tactic for almost any trucking company or their insurance provider is to shift blame onto the victim. The less responsibility the company is on the hook for, the better. That often translates to saying the victim could or should have done something differently that would have avoided the crash or at least lessened its damage. That may seem pretty cold-hearted after a fatal collision, but companies and their attorneys aren't shy about pointing fingers where they have to.
For example, I handled a situation not long ago where overcoming a trucking company's blame-shifting was pivotal in getting a family the help they deserved. In that situation, a big rig cut someone off while turning across a highway and caused a serious wreck. The trucking company blamed the victim's injuries on them speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and using "faulty evasive maneuvers." Only after shutting down their arguments with careful investigation and abundant evidence did they grudgingly agree to help the victim's loved ones.
To be clear, I don't know that the same difficulties wait for the victim's family in the aftermath of this tragic collision. Three decades in this field have shown me, however, that most truck accidents have at least some complications that must be overcome. Whatever caused this one, it's best to find all the available evidence and answers so no "creative" interpretations of what happened can interfere with getting justice.