Lumberton woman dies in motorcycle accident, operator arrested

Published 6:03 pm Monday, September 9, 2019

PONCHATOULA, La. — Shortly before 11:00 pm on Sept. 6, 2019, Louisiana State Police Troop L responded to a fatal crash involving a motorcycle on LA Hwy 445 south of US Hwy 190 in Tangipahoa Parish. The crash claimed the life of 24-year-old Marissa Barrett of Lumberton, MS, and resulted in the arrest of 36-year-old Dustin Cox of Amite.

The initial investigation by Troopers determined the crash occurred as Cox was riding a 1998 Kawasaki ZX750P southbound on LA Hwy 443 a high rate of speed. A Trooper attempted to stop Cox, but he refused to stop and initiated a pursuit. Cox eventually turned eastbound onto US Hwy 190, and due to reckless driving behavior by Cox the Trooper stopped pursuing. A witness observed the motorcycle turn south onto LA Hwy 445, and a short time later the motorcycle was located. Troopers determined that while traveling southbound on LA Hwy 445, Cox sideswiped a southbound 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe. As a result, the motorcycle left the roadway and struck a ditch embankment ejecting Cox and his passenger Barrett.

Cox and Barrett were transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. Barrett ultimately succumbed to those injuries earlier today. Impairment on the part of Cox was suspected, and a toxicology sample was taken for analysis. Cox was charged with Vehicular Homicide, Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, Flight from an Officer, Reckless Operation of a Vehicle, Careless Operation, and Speeding. The driver of the Chevrolet was properly restrained and was uninjured, and impairment was not a factor. The investigation is ongoing, and no further information is available at this time.

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Time and time again, Troopers witness preventable motor vehicle crashes involving impairment.

Alcohol and/or narcotics can impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle by lessening visual ability, altering sense of time and space, lessening fine motor skills, and decreasing reaction times and judgement.

Troopers urge motorists to never drive impaired, and remind passengers to never ride with an impaired driver under any circumstances.