Louisiana worker filling potholes killed when vehicle crashes into dump truck

MANSFIELD, La. — A Louisiana highway department worker who was filling potholes died and two others were injured Wednesday when a logging truck collided with their dump truck, authorities said.

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According to a news release from the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development, Chris Gray, 35, of Lake Charles, died in DeSoto Parish.

Jalen Singleton suffered serious injuries, the agency said. Mario Ross, who received “moderate injuries,” was released from an area hospital.

The workers were filling potholes with asphalt on U.S. 171 when the crash occurred, KSLA-TV reported.

The driver of the logging truck was also injured and transported to an area hospital for treatment.

State police identified the driver as Charles Barker, 42, of Florien, KTBS-TV reported.

Barker was driving the empty logging truck while two state department of transportation vehicles were stopped in the road, according to the television station. Barker’s truck struck the first state truck, a 2018 Dodge Ram, causing it to leave the road, KTBS reported.

According to police, Barker then hit the second vehicle, a 2015 Ford dump truck. Gray was standing behind the dump truck when he was hit, according to the television station.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to Chris Gray’s family. Chris was diligently doing his job for the citizens of our state when this heartbreaking incident occurred,” DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, said in a statement. “Having to inform the loved ones of somebody killed in a preventable accident is by far the most difficult part of being secretary. We wish a speedy recovery to Jalen Singleton, who was seriously injured, and we are thankful that Mario Ross was released from medical care.

“The department can’t stress enough the importance of not driving distracted, especially in an active construction zone. Pay attention to your surroundings and slow down when you see workers and equipment -- not only for their safety, but also for yours.”