On Wednesday evening, Aug. 7 at approximately 6:40 p.m., Provencal Police, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS, Natchitoches Parish Fire District #4, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS and Life Air responded to reports of a hit & run injury crash on La. Hwy 117 near the Vernon Wester Road within the city limits of Provencal, La. which claimed the life of a Forest Hill man according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2008 Toyota Tundra pickup truck operated by Luis Fernando-Hernandez Salas, 32, of Shreveport was traveling northbound on La. Hwy 117 at an apparent high rate of speed when he crashed into the rear of a 2002 Chevrolet S-10 pickup operated by Ismael Guzman, 30, of Forest Hill.
This action caused the Chevrolet S-10 to cross over into the southbound lane striking a bridge guardrail causing the vehicle to go airborne then traveled through a ditch going airborne again striking a tree causing the vehicle to overturn coming to a rest on its top.
Following the crash, the 2008 Toyota Tundra failed to stop continuing northbound on La. Hwy 117 leaving the roadway on the left side striking several mailboxes then continued on striking a tree coming to a rest.
Salas then fled from the vehicle running through yards into a wood thicket pursued by private citizens and responding deputies.
A short while later he was taken into custody by deputies with the assistance of area citizens.
Guzman was extricated from the vehicle by Natchitoches Parish Fire District #4 and transported by EMS to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Salas was transported by deputies to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, treated and released for minor injuries.
Salas was then transported to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center, where he was administered the Intoxilyzer 9000 Test, processed, booked, charged with Vehicular Homicide, DWI, Hit & Run, Resisting an Officer, Criminal Damage to Property, Open Container, No Drivers License, and Following too Close.
Impairment is believed to be a factor in the crash.
Toxicology samples will be submitted to the La. State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
Salas remains in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center without bond.
Sheriff Jones said on Thursday afternoon, Provencal Police assisted by Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Louisiana State Police and the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office returned to the scene to investigate and survey the scene for additional evidence based on additional information received by the NPSO, and Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office of possible criminal wrongdoing.
Detectives assigned to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division is now also actively involved in the investigation.
No further information is being released at this time, however, the investigation is continuing.
On Friday morning, deputies will be taking drone footage of the accident scene. If you are traveling through the area please drive carefully and pay attention to the roadway.
NPSO Deputies inform motorists that impaired driving continues to be a leading cause of traffic crashes that result in injuries and death. Whether driving impaired under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both, the consequences result in the same. We ask that you make good choices while consuming alcoholic beverages, never drive while impaired, always ensure occupants are restrained, and avoid distractions that make the difference between life and death.