On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, shortly after 10:00 pm, Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a fatal crash on LA 25 north of US 190 in St. Tammany Parish. The crash claimed the life of 46-year-old Jude T. Keelen of New Orleans.
The initial investigation revealed that Keelen was traveling southbound on LA 25 in a 2020 Jeep Cherokee approaching a 2014 Peterbilt 18-wheeler that was stopped waiting to make a turn into a private drive. For reasons still under investigation, Keelen struck the rear of the 18-wheeler and then crossed into the northbound lane in front of a northbound 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe. The Tahoe struck Keelen’s vehicle in the driver’s side and all three vehicles came to rest in the roadway.
Keelen was unrestrained during the crash and was transported to a local area hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. The driver of the Peterbilt 18-wheeler was properly restrained and uninjured in the crash. The driver of the Tahoe was properly restrained during the crash and transported to a local area hospital due to injuries he sustained. Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in the crash. As part of the ongoing investigation, blood samples were taken from all three drivers for scientific analysis. The crash remains under investigation.
This is the fifth fatal crash Troop L has investigated since the beginning of 2021 and the fourth fatality that can be attributed to lack of restraint use. Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists to always make good decisions while in a motor vehicle. Never drive while impaired, fatigued, or distracted, always ensure every occupant is properly restrained, and follow all traffic laws. While not all crashes are survivable, taking simple precautions such as these can often mean the difference between life and death.