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Mississippi woman killed in crash on Interstate 59

Slidell – On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, shortly after 2:30 pm, Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a fatal crash on Interstate 59 at its intersection with Interstate 10 in St. Tammany Parish.  The crash claimed the life of 19-year-old Yaquaria Smith of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The initial investigation revealed that Smith was traveling southbound in the left lane of Interstate 59 in a 2005 Ford Expedition.  For reasons still under investigation, Smith veered right towards the Interstate 10 eastbound off-ramp and exited the roadway.  Her vehicle impacted a roadway sign and then a tree on the driver’s side.

Smith was properly restrained and sustained fatal injuries during the crash.  She was pronounced deceased on the scene by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office.  A two-year-old passenger was properly restrained in a child safety seat and transported to a local area hospital for injuries sustained during the crash.  Impairment is not suspected to be a factor, however, as part of the ongoing investigation, a blood sample was taken from Smith for scientific analysis.  The crash remains under investigation.

Troopers wish to remind everyone that children depend on adults to ensure they are properly restrained in an age and weight-appropriate seat. For more information on child restraint laws and best practices please visit the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission website. While not all crashes are survivable, statistics show that the chances of surviving a crash rise significantly when properly restrained. Making good choices while in motor vehicles such as never driving while impaired, always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained, and avoiding all distractions can often mean the difference between life and death.