David Hilton, a 2009 Erath High graduate, passed away as a result of the accident. Hilton was not restrained. A passenger in Hilton’s vehicle, 27-year-old Grant Vercher of Erath, was also unrestrained and was transported to a hospital with moderate injuries.
It was first reported by the Meridional that Hilton wrecked trying to avoid a spool of wire in the roadway. According to State Police, the spool of wire was in the back of Hilton's truck and not on the road. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
A witness to the accident said Hilton's Ford truck was heading east on La. 14 around 4:30 p.m. The driver went right off the right shoulder of the road, not far from Earl’s Furniture Store.
The truck ran over a mail box, then continued towards the furniture store. The side of the truck hit one of the large oak trees by Earl’s, causing to the truck to overturn. The upside down truck skid into the west corner of Earl’s Furniture Store, knocking down a front pole and causing damage to the building with people still inside the building. No one was hurt in the store.
Also, a gas line was broken due to the accident. Gas was eventually turned off.
A person in Earl’s Furniture said it sounded like an explosion when the truck hit the building.
Traffic east and west on La. 14 had to be rerouted in front of Earl’s Furniture for a couple hours.
It is unknown if alcohol was a factor in this crash; however, toxicology samples were obtained and will be submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.
Last year over 60% of people who died in fatal crashes in the Troop I area, were unrestrained. Troopers remind drivers that Louisiana Law requires all occupants of motor vehicles to be properly restrained. While wearing a seatbelt will not save you in every crash, it will greatly reduce the risk of injuries in most crashes.