Driver and Two Unrestrained Teens in Louisiana Die in Crash with Log Truck on US 171

By Zephyr Sullivan
Published May 25, 2023

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Driver and Two Unrestrained Teens in Louisiana Die in Crash with Log Truck on US 171

Sabine Parish – The driver and two unrestrained teens died in a Louisiana crash involving a log truck on US 171.

Louisiana State Police (LSP) stated on May 24, 2023, that at approximately 3:45 p.m., Troopers from LSP Troop E began investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash on US Highway 171 south of Zwolle. Billy William Meshell, 66, a 17-year-old juvenile, and a 15-year-old juvenile, all from Zwolle, Louisiana were killed in the crash.

The initial inquiry found that Meshell was driving a 2003 GMC pickup truck north on US Highway 171. Simultaneously, a loaded 2012 Peterbilt log truck driving north began slowing to make a right turn. Meshell reportedly failed to slow down for unknown reasons and collided with the rear end of the Peterbilt.

Meshell, who was restrained, suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene. Two other unrestrained adolescent passengers in the GMC suffered fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene. Minor injuries were sustained by the driver of the Peterbilt, who was restrained. Although no impairment is suspected, regular toxicological samples were collected and will be analyzed.

While the reason for this crash is still being investigated, Louisiana State Police indicated that distracted and inattentive driving remains a significant cause of crashes in our state. Louisiana State Police advises all motorists to drive cautiously. A failure in judgment can have fatal repercussions.

The Louisiana State Police also said that wearing a seat belt is one of the most critical decisions a driver can make. While not all crashes are avoidable, the correct use of seat belts can significantly lower an occupant’s risk of death and injury. Making certain that all occupants are properly restrained can often mean the difference between life and death.

Troopers with Troop E have investigated 23 fatal crashes so far in 2023, resulting in 26 fatalities.