• October 11, 2022

Erin LaPoint Killed in 3-Vehicle Crash on Highway 14 near Kaplan, LA

Kaplan, LA — October 6, 2022, 26-year-old Erin Mathew LaPoint died in a three-vehicle crash on State Highway 14 near Kaplan in Vermilion Parish.

Authorities say the incident happened around 2:30 p.m. on Highway 14 near West Pirates Lane. Preliminary investigation suggests a farm operation was burning the edges of its fields near the highway, which created dense smoke that limited visibility for drivers. Two crashes soon occurred and blocked the travel lanes.

Police said a Peterbilt tanker truck was stopped in the road due to building traffic from the previous crashes when LaPoint approached in a Ford Mustang and rear-ended it for unknown reasons. After the impact a pickup crashed into the Mustang's rear, trapping it between the trucks.

LaPoint was pronounced dead at the scene. The pickup and tanker drivers were unhurt.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Erin LaPoint Accident on LA-14 near Kaplan

If reports have their facts straight it seems like an agricultural outfit saw nothing wrong with setting controlled fires that made a hazy and dangerous mess out of the roadway. Two crashes happened in that smoke, and they in turn blocked the road and set the stage for one that claimed a man's life. To me it seems like the farming operation that triggered all this may have some answering to do for the damage its fires led to.

Of course, they probably wouldn't see things that way. If approached about making things right, one might expect them to argue that people could or should have slowed down or been more careful when entering a low-visibility area. That kind of blame-dodging isn't uncommon for a commercial entity after its employees do something dangerous, and those arguments have to be overcome by clear evidence showing the true and proximate cause of the damage done.

Erin LaPoint Killed in 3-Vehicle Crash on Highway 14 near Kaplan, LA

It's important to follow all that by saying the full context of the accident hasn't really been explained yet. For instance, if the victim could reasonably have seen the truck and slowed but didn't for some reason, then blaming the smoke and its makes for what happened wouldn't be fair (though I'm sure it didn't help). It's best for everyone involved to investigate carefully and account for all the possible contributing factors. At the very least the victim's loved ones deserve some real answers; anything else would depend on what those answers are.

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