Curve warning signs erected at site of fatal crash

State highway personnel on Tuesday morning installed 22 new signs warning drivers about dangerous curves on a stretch in La. 44 in southern Ascension Parish where a 5-year-old child was killed in a traffic accident Monday morning.

Crews erected two curve-warning signs and 20 chevron arrow signs for both traffic directions in the section of highway south of Loosemore Road near Burnside, a Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development spokeswoman said.

DOTD spokeswoman Lauren Lee said the agency already had developed a plan to have more warning signs installed along La. 44 before the fatal crash Monday.

“They were scheduled to go in early 2013,” Lee said Tuesday.

She said the installation was expedited and the signs went into the ground Tuesday.

Makell Andrews, 5, of Sorrento, was partially ejected from his father’s pickup in one of the curves on La. 44 south of Loosemore Road shortly before 7:45 a.m. Monday, Louisiana State Police reported.

The driver, the boy’s father, Anthony K. Andrews, 30, of Sorrento, failed to negotiate the curve, ran off La. 44 and tried to steer back onto La. 44, causing the truck to roll, troopers have said.

Makell Andrews was not properly restrained in a child seat, troopers said. Anthony Andrews was not cited in the crash.

Lee said the section of La. 44 actually is composed of a right-hand curve and a left-hand curve. The northern curve is the more gentle of the two, she said.

Lee said the southern curve already had been equipped with curve warning signs in both directions advising drivers to travel no faster than 50 mph. The speed limit on that section of La. 44 is 55 mph.

The diamond-shaped signs also indicate to drivers the direction they will have to steer to negotiate the curve they are approaching.

Crews added the same kind of curve warning signs in both directions along the northern curve, Lee said.

Twenty new chevron arrow signs noting the direction of the curve also were added to both curves in both directions, Lee said.

Since the crash that claimed the life of Makell Andrews, parish officials have confirmed that several accidents recently happened in the two-lane stretch of La. 44 they say is dangerous. The officials also said they had sought unsuccessfully several years ago to have DOTD widen the stretch of road to four lanes with shoulders.

Jared Sandifer, State Police spokesman, said four to five vehicle crashes, including the wreck on Monday, occurred in that section of La. 44 in the past 30 days.

He said the figure may be an incomplete tally because the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office responds to some crashes.

Lee added that DOTD is reviewing La. 44 for road improvements and conducting a “road safety assessment” of area roads for potential safety upgrades.