Crash near Abita Springs is fourth in rash of motorcycle fatalities

A motorcyclist was killed north of Abita Springs on Monday afternoon when a van making a left turn failed to yield.

The accident killed 51-year-old Peter Gonsoulin, of Covington, who was traveling southbound on La. 435. A St. Tammany Parish goSTAT transport van driven by Demond Mansion, 37, failed to yield while making a left turn onto Money Hill Drive, State Police troopers said. The van drove directly into the path of the motorcycle, which hit it head-on.

Mansion and his passenger, 64-year-old Joe Tagert, were properly restrained and were not injured. A breath-alcohol test showed no signs of alcohol in Mansion's system.

Gonsoulin was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash; however, he did not have a motorcycle endorsement on his license, according to the State Police.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office. Impairment is not suspected.

The accident was the fourth fatal motorcycle crash in less than a week across south Louisiana, including an accident on Fremaux Avenue in Slidell on Wednesday that also involved a vehicle that failed to yield while making a left-hand turn.

The rash of accidents is prompting State Police to urge motorists to share the road with motorcycles and remain alert.

Following crashes, motorists often report difficulty in accurately judging the speed, size, and proximity of an approaching smaller vehicle specifically motorcycles, State Police said.

Riders can improve their safety by being as visible as possible, using headlights day and night, using reflective strips or decals on clothing and motorcycles, as well as wearing a light-colored helmet and bright clothing.