ACADIA PARISH, La. (KPEL News) - A Jennings man is dead and another man is injured as a crash on the day after Christmas leaves Louisiana State Police pleading with drivers to do one very important thing: wear your seat belts.

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Troopers say they received the call shortly after 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday of the two-vehicle crash on Louisiana Highway 91 south of Clement Road. Investigators say 67-year-old Thomas Harrelson of Jennings was traveling north on the roadway when he crossed into the oncoming lane while making a curve. That's when his Lincoln crashed into a southbound suburban head-on.

Authorities say both drivers were unrestrained. The driver of the suburban was sent to the hospital with moderate injuries.

Harrelson was not so fortunate, dying at the scene, which was confirmed by the Acadia Parish Coroner's Office.

State Police leave this plea for drivers:

Far too often, Troopers witness the devastating effects of a crash where the driver fails to utilize a seat belt. Seat belts, when worn properly, greatly increase the chances of surviving a crash. The seat belt works in many ways by crossing the strong bones of the body and spreading out the forces, allowing the body to slow down in the crash. Seat belts prevent ejection and protect the neck and spine, as well as other vital organs. Taking three seconds to secure your seat belt can save others a lifetime of missing you. Please buckle up, every ride, every time.

Toxicology results are still pending on both drivers as the crash is still under investigation.

Troop I has investigated 56 fatal crashes resulting in 61 deaths in 2023.

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Gallery Credit: Brandon Comeaux

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