LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - It was a tragic holiday for one man from St. Martinville as he died in a single-vehicle crash shortly after 12:00 a.m. on December 24th.

Louisiana State Police say the crash happened on Louisiana Highway 347 north of the city limits of St. Martinville in St. Martin Parish. Troopers say the victim's pickup truck ran off the left side of the road, struck a tree, and became engulfed in flames. The reason why is still under investigation.

John Thomas Hayes was 34-years-old. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the St. Martin Parish Coroner's Office. It's not known yet if he was wearing a seat belt or not. A toxicology sample is pending as the crash remains under investigation.

Louisiana State Police want to leave you with this lasting message:

Louisiana State Troopers would like to take this opportunity to remind motorists to always make good decisions while operating motor vehicles. 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.

Trooper Thomas Gossen tells KPEL News this is the first fatal crash of December in Troop I. This is the 59th fatal crash of 2022 in Troop I, which has resulted in 66 deaths.

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